A house for handicapped people
Start date: Aug 1, 2015,
End date: Nov 30, 2016
The home for people with special needs (‘G.o.E. Behindertenstätten’) offers support in a range of life situations to make a dignified and self-determined life for them possible.
The Queen Fabiola Home (‘Königin-Fabiola-Haus’) is a residence for mentally and physically disabled people in Eupen, a small town (18.000 habitants) in the German-speaking Community of Belgium, which is a border region close to the Netherlands, Germany, and Luxemburg.
18-20 people live in the residence, which is composed of two groups. The residents go to work during the day. Hence, the care and the activities take place in the afternoon, the evening, on weekends, and during holidays. 17 people work in the residence, mostly pedagogues, geriatric and family assistants, nurses… Furthermore, 2.5 fulltime equivalents are employed for Household chores and maintenance (doing the laundry, ironing, cleaning, and repairs).
An important part of the care is the management of practical issues and activities in their lives. We are trying to provide our residents the means for a self-determined life in an enjoyable atmosphere. We work in accordance with the generally recognised deontological standards as well as concepts and standards we developed on our own: European convention on human rights, deontological guide for counselling, ethical staff charter of our residence, house rules as well as many strategies, methods and documents. In the field of autism as well as other disabilities, we participate frequently in advanced trainings to be able to address current needs of the residents and to find modern solutions.
The trainees and volunteers help us enabling the residents to participate in a varied range of leisure activities, and they support us in our everyday work. For the time being, we accept only one volunteer at a time for one of the two groups in the residence. In the other group, we work mostly with trainees (pedagogical students). The European Voluntary Service has served its purpose as Magdalena was able to immerse into our line of work as well as into the culture of our region.
The voluntary service went well, despite some smaller issues regarding communication and comprehension, which were quickly solved afterwards. At all times, Magdalena has shown a lot of motivation. She has put a lot of effort in the support of the residents: she was a reliable contact person for the residents. She has done excursions with the residents, such as: hiking, attendance of a party, visiting festivals in Eupen or close-by. In the residence she has helped organising the everyday life of the residents, such as: buying groceries, putting away the laundry, cooking, guiding them to set the table etc. Furthermore, she has participated in the weekly crafting workshops.
Years of experience have shown us that most volunteers from European countries have never been in contact with people with special needs. Thus, they gain a lot of experience, maturity, tolerance, and knowledge during their service.
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