The fourth day in Riga, Latvia, as part of the training on the rights of people with disabilities at the “Riga Academy,” was informative and enriching. The focus of the day was on Article 19 – Independent Living and Inclusion in the Local Community of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
During the first half of the day, we delved into the experience of Māris Grāvis and his civic organization. The conversation was engaging and enlightening, providing participants with insights into the organization’s work, its initiatives, collaboration with local authorities, the provision of social services, the remuneration of social workers, the process of signing contracts with employees, the prestige of professions, and the establishment of social workshops. The lecturer particularly highlighted their success in advocating for the right to live independently in society for youth with disabilities and mental disorders, who have transitioned to living in their own flats.
The exploration of experiences continued with the Elgava District Multifunctional Centre for Social Services “LAIPA” Dspc Laipa, where young individuals, after leaving institutions where everything was done for them, can come to the centre to learn to take care of themselves, assume responsibilities, work, communicate, and adapt to independent living. This serves as a transitional period between institutional care or family life where parents overly protected the child and fully independent living. At the end, the staff enthusiastically showcased workshops, talked about social enterprise, and displayed the products they create.