Youth with disabilities around the world face many challenges making the transition to adulthood. Mosaic International is proud to be working with two international partners, Motivation Romania Foundation and Kivunim (Israel) on an exciting pilot project to meet this need. Wings Romania is a pilot program that aims to help youth with disabilities acquire independent living and employment skills so they can achieve their goals and reach their full potential.
In places like Romania, where people with disabilities have often been marginalized and institutionalized, rarely are the voices of youth with disabilities heard. Today, the Wings participants reflect on their journey and tell you about their experiences, hopes and dreams in their own words:
Who were you before coming to Wings?
Adelina: I was a child, with an appropriate and inappropriate behavior sometimes, without responsibilities.
Andrei: I was a young man with potential for development, but who still didn’t know what it’s like to be independent in the real sense of the word. Because the area where I live is inaccessible to people with disabilities, I was without employment prospects.
Ionela: I was an indifferent girl in terms of several things, namely: health, future and attitudes towards people around me. I was a country girl with a restricted perspective of the future, but I was happy and willing to try new things with a smile.
Tiberiu: I was a spoiled by all the people who were around me: parents, grandparents, friends, relatives. Rarely did I engage in household chores to help my grandmother or mother. Usually I expected someone to do everything for me: to set the table, to cook the meal for me, clean for me, to buy for me all I needed, etc.
Who are you now and what have you done in Wings?
Adelina: I am a person who learned to lead a life independently, to have self-confidence, to appreciate and to accept life as it is. I have a job that I like, but at the beginning it was hard to be integrated. It was difficult to adapt, especially to the work program, and I had to be responsible for the work tasks I perform. After much encouragement from foundation team I made the first step to contact my father. After a month of telephone conversations I had the courage to meet with him and his family.
Andrei: I am a student at the Faculty of Psychology of the University. Since January 2016 I am employed as sales agent in the Social Enterprise of Supernova Neamt Sports Club Association. I compete in wheelchair basketball and tennis. I also participate in wheelchair basketball demonstrations to promote and demonstrate the abilities of people with disabilities.
Ionela: I understand that it is very important to pay attention to health, especially in the treatment of bedsores. With the support of Motivation’s team we went to several medical consultations for health problems that I had. I learned how to transfer in and out of a wheelchair correctly. I realized the limits we impose ourselves, and it is not necessarily others and the environment that cause restrictions.
Tiberiu: Since I live in the Wings house I have done many things for the first time: I used a knife to prepare the food for me and for my colleagues; I washed things; I cleaned up; I took care of my belongings; I went shopping. I understand how hard it is to stay away from parents and grandparents. The first days in the Wings house were very difficult for my parents and for me; we were all worried. My parents and grandmother rang me several times a day to ask how I was feeling. My mother came every day to bring my food cooked at home in the way I liked it and helped me arrange clothes and be sure I am ok. With the support of everyone now I can say that I am independent regarding housework. I learned to be part of a group, to be responsible, to respect the program, to help my colleagues. I am a volunteer in an Association and the fact that I can help others who are in need makes me have more self-confidence and move forward.
What do you want to become in the future?
- I want to become mature and responsible in everything that I want or have to do.
- I want to discover the qualities and skills that others have seen in me “can do more”.
- I want to help people who need my help.
- First I want to have my own organization producing wheelchairs.
- I want to finish my studies and to have a diploma of psychologist.
- I want to live alone.
- I want to get my own family.
- I want to have a job.
- I want get the driving license and to have a car.
- I want to be a volunteer and to be a model for people which are in similar situations to mine.
- I want to be an independent person and I to have my own family.
- I want to have a job.
- I want to be a volunteer.
- In the future maybe I will be able to have my own business, namely a workshop to rent tools and electrical appliances.
We at Mosaic are so excited to be a part of this project and to see the lives of possibilities ahead for these youth!