Those with learning difficulties in Belarus have many unmet needs which cut across all areas of daily life. They must overcome the ascription of moral weakness to them and their families which result in social stigma and exclusion.

Similarly learning disabled young people do not have adequate information about their condition, their rights, benefits and the few healthcare services that may be available to them. The Isle of Hope is a refuge from the harsh world around them and their families which provides:

Education, Art, Music and Craft Skills

A range of daily, weekly, monthly and annual activities which combine to increase ability and understanding. These include

  • Basic literacy and numeracy. Where this is not possible, given the young person’s condition recognition of shape, colour and the enjoyment of illustrations is encouraged.
  • Individual and team games especially those which encourage co-ordination and manual dexterity.
  • An appreciation of sound through music and listening.
  • The growing of flowers and vegetables, and the maintenance of tools.
  • An appreciation of the environment through an extensive recycling scheme.
  • Handicrafts such as glass bead work, egg painting, pottery and woodwork.

Life Skills for greater personal independence

Each of the 60 young people is assigned to a member of the support staff who teaches them to

  • Wash, dress and feed themselves
  • Be toilet trained
  • Go up and down stairs, open and close doors unaided.
  • Conduct light domestic duties such as cleaning, polishing and sweeping.
  • Tell the time
  • Follow directions

By working together in their groups the young people quickly learn to socialise with and trust each other. This is not only intrinsically valuable but also breaks down isolation, building up personal self-confidence and communication skills.

Physiotherapy, Psychological and Nursing Care

Some of the young people attending the Isle of Hope also have physical disabilities which demand daily physiotherapeutic treatment. This is provided by the centre’s fully trained physiotherapist who has also installed a small exercise gymnasium. Every young person at the Centre has an exercise routine to be followed regularly. When this is combined with the life skills classes it has truly transformative results on the health and well-being of the young person.

Through your support ChildAid need to meet virtually all of the operating costs of this vital service. Please do give generously