Kiev invited EDSA Experts

Conference on Job Inclusion

On the 5th and 6th December 2019 a conference was organized by the Ukrainian DS Association in Kiev. The focus was on Education and Employment of people with Dow Syndrome. Besides the contributions from Ukraine, there were two guest speakers from the Netherlands.
With the financial support through the EDSA project “Invite an Expert” the DS Association in Kiev, as an EDSA-member, had invited Anna Contardi and Cora Halder as speakers to the conference.

Elena Bolshanina, the president of the Ukrainian DS Association welcomed about 100 parents and professionals to this two days conference. They received information about the best educational methods to prepare youngsters with DS for future work-live, about vocational training, how to organize the transition from school to work and how to enable the young people to be part of the “work force”.

Autonomy and vocational training

On the first day Anna Contardi gave a 4 hrs. workshop for parents in a parallel seminar, the topic was autonomy – how to make the child, the youngster as independent a possible. It was a very interactive meeting, with a lot of questions, practical advice and changing ideas. Parents were very pleased to have had the possibility to discuss topics with Anna.
On the second day, Anna presented how in Italy job preparation is organized, what kind of work possibilities are found on the Italian job market. A good example of successful job inclusion and a successful EU project is Valueable, which she introduced to the interested Ukrainian audience.

Speaker Anna Contardi
Anna Contardi from Italy during her presentation

Key qualifications

Cora Halder gave a talk about how children and youngsters can learn the job skills – (key qualifications) – they need for a successful employment on the open work market. The best place to learn these is an inklusive school. She explained how inclusive education can be organized and showed the advantages of mainstream schooling above special education.

In a second lecture she presented the job situation for adults with DS in Germany from the workshops for persons with an intellectual disability to supported employment and working on the first job market.
There is a development to more job inclusion, according the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which states that the right to work for persons with a disability includes the right to the opportunity to work in an open, inclusive and accessible labour market and work environment.

Speaker Cora halder
Cora Halder during her lecture

A vision for Ukrainian parents

For a country like Ukraine, where there is still a lot of rejection towards children with Down Syndrome, where proper education for these children only started 10 years ago, where school inclusion is in their infancy, it is a big jump to imagine how employment on the first market can be successfully realized. But as participants told us, they need such positiv examples to have a vision, to have a direction, a goal to head for.