The attention of the Russian society is increasingly turning to solving problems faced by handicapped people, as testified to by Moscow’s recently launched social assistance service. Specially trained outreach workers and volunteers help the disabled find jobs and buy medicines, as well as satisfy their communication needs. To summon a personal assistant one just has to call the Social Service Center and get professional help.
Such a support service is first and foremost essential for those eager to remain active members of our society, integration consultant Svetlana Khripach believes.
Given that there are over a million people with various disabilities residing in Moscow nowadays, we should bend every effort to help them live a decent, normal life. We build a sort of bridge between social structures and our clients, Svetlana Khripach says.
Introducing helpers will tackle quite a number of problems. Many disabled people have a strong personality and seek to conquer new academic heights or enhance their incomes unassisted. Of vital importance for them in this respect are computer hardware, transport means and other such things. Personal consultants possess all relevant information and will make suggestions about whom to address, how to file documents and where to find the necessary means.
Apart from employment assistance and other financial-type matters, social supporters may also help the disabled find their vocation and means of self-actualization. They will accompany their clients to different cultural events and organize their leisure activities, if needed.
Many of those who have found themselves in a complicated life situation and therefore feel somewhat isolated from the rest of society simply need human interaction. A call to the Social Service Center will alleviate this problem as well. Personal consultants would also be able to acquaint those under their care with new technological developments designed to aid handicapped people. Indeed, modern computer technology and communication means allow them to interact with each other and find common interests, thus improving the overall quality of their life.
Social assistants will also bring relief to families of the disabled, even though their functions are different from those performed by social workers – they will mostly help with social, not day-to-day, life. All specialists have undergone training, including sign language studies. Comprised mainly of social workers, the service engages volunteers as well.
Permanent support from other people plays a key role in making handicapped people feel comfortable. The nearest future will therefore witness social service centers emerging in every Moscow district.