a) Best practice 1: Centre for the Vocational Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities.
The Centre for the Vocational Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities operates under the Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and aims to design and implement vocational training programs and to co-ordinate or provide funding for programs that promote disabled people´s employment, either in the open market or in sheltered workplaces. More importantly, the department is now working towards the development of a unified disability assessment plan, which is expected to facilitate disabled people´s inclusion in different areas (society, education, employment). In parallel, the department continues to co-ordinate existing schemes targeting employers who wish to hire disabled people in their workplaces or disabled individuals who wish to establish their own business.
b) Best practice 2: Agios Stefanos foundation
The Agios Stefanos foundation operates a boarding school which offers housing and specialized care in thirty two people with intellectual disabilities. The aim of the foundation is to protect shelter and care people with intellectual disabilities, with a view to de-institutionalization and smooth integration into society, claiming equal opportunities in life.
The Day Care Centre of Agios Stefanos Foundation is a place of education and entertainment of people with intellectual disabilities. In the Day Care Centre people with intellectual disabilities gain pre-professional training, their capabilities are detected and, through programs of Special Education, they learn rules of social behavior and being autonomous.
c) Best practice 3: Special School of Nicosia
The Special School Nicosia implements pre-vocational programs within and outside the school area aiming to the vocational rehabilitation and integration of students with disabilities into the labor market. The aim of these programs is to prepare students and help them acquire job skills and social skills that are necessary for finding and keeping a job. The pre-vocational programs of Special School include:
- Program for pre-vocational education in workshops within the school:
- Recycling Paper and Aluminium
- Photocopy centers
- Car wash
- Prepare a snack
- Knitting Seats
- Hairdressing - Beauty
- Program for pre-vocational education in sheltered workshops in Christou Steliou Ioannou Foundation.
- Program for pre-vocational education outside school, in workplaces in the open labor market with the accompaniment and support of school staff. This program involves students who have completed fifteen years of age. During the current school year thirty five students, nine teachers and five school assistants were involved. Workplaces in the open labor market include hypermarkets, fruit markets, nurseries, and organizations of public sector. The Special School of Nicosia is constantly striving to expand its collaborations. Since February 2013 the School initiated collaboration with the School Board of Aglantzia where students practice in the school office works. Such cooperation started from April 2013 with the Town Halls of Aglantzia and Latsia.
- Part-time Schooling – part time employment program. This is a new program and aims to the placement and partial employment of students in positions in the open labor market with support from job coaches.
d) Best practice 4: Christou Steliou Ioannou Foundation
The objectives of the Foundation for personal fulfillment, social and vocational integration and a better quality of life are materialized through the programs offered by the four basic Departments of the Foundation.
The Employment-Rehabilitation Department is responsible for the provision of vocational training and occupation in the various Workshops of the Foundation as well as for the vocational rehabilitation of the inmates of the Foundation in the free market with the use of personal group (enclaves) or supported rehabilitation programs.
The Foundation has a total of seven Workshops where students are trained and work. One of them is a large Production Workshop which was built by the Association of Friends of the Foundation for the productive occupation of individuals who cannot or are not yet ready to be employed in the open market. The basic professional sectors offered by the Foundation are Sewing, Weaving, Embroidery, Basketry, Carpentry, Repetition Work, Assembly, Packaging, Agriculture and Laundry. Those who work in the Workshops have the chance, whenever necessary, to attend supplementary education programs to maintain and complement their knowledge. They also take part in all therapeutic, social, sporting, entertainment and other activities offered by the Foundation as part of its effort for the complete and multi-faceted development of the skills and personality of each individual.
The Employment-Rehabilitation Department is responsible for observing those who have already found their way to employment in the open market. Hotels, confectionaries, laundries, warehouses, petrol stations, building sites, furniture factories and other industries are some of the sectors in which former students of the Foundation are successfully employed.
With a broader perception of its role and mission, the Foundation does not limit its contribution to the confines of its programs and services. In order to fulfill as many as possible of the interests of its students and offer opportunities for a better quality of life, the Foundation organizes a wide variety of events and activities including outing, tours, camping, journeys abroad, foreign exchanges, music, dance, drama, painting, sports and entertainment. It also organizes staff training programs not only for its own staff but also for those who work at other schools and institutions in Cyprus, various kinds of events for parents and families and a wide variety of enlightenment activities aimed at the widest possible public information, in order to rid society of ignorance and discrimination and to acceptance of people with mental handicap.
There are regular visits and assistance is offered to employees and employers. Without ruling out the possibility of individuals returning to the Foundation for retraining everything possible is done to maintain what has been made possible through so much effort: An equal place in society.
e) Best practice 5: Skapaneas club
The Skapaneas club was launched in 1997 by the initiative of Parents of Persons with Disabilities. Its main purpose is the Vocational Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities.
Its programs include:
- Program of Daily Employment and prevocational training. It operates under the supervision of a social worker. The Daily Program offers children various activities such personal hygiene, Theatre Workshop, Music, Art, Crafts, Visits, Recycling, gymnastics, dance therapy , music , linguistics and swimming during the summer.
- Program for the supported employment. The aim of this program is to support the institution through which people with special educational needs are given the opportunity (SEN) to be placed and remain in employment in the open labour market. There are 3 programs for the supported employment with 3 job coaches.
- Program for Entertainment and Socialization. Within the context of a wider integration of the disabled into society the program offers many activities such as trips abroad.
f) Best practice 6: Agios Lazaros Centre for People with Special Needs
The Centre Agios Lazaros in Larnaca offers services to adults (over 18 years) with mild to moderate mental retardation. Currently the Center serves seventy three people through three programs: Day Centre, the Community House and Vocational Rehabilitation.
This program offers services to twenty eight people.
The main objectives are:
- vocational rehabilitation
- useful and creative activities
- cooperation and support to the employers and staff
- transportation to and from work where needed
The services provided are:
- finding a job according to the abilities, peculiarities, needs and problems of each person
- professional support persons
- support for families