Partner: Asociația Școala mamei Junior
Beneficiaries: Children with various disabilities, aged between 6 weeks to 18 years
Year of launch: 2015 (December)
Budget: 312,605 RON
Accessibility of the hydrotherapy services for the recovery of all categories of children with disabilities by providing an adapted transport vehicle, transfer wheelchairs, a stair elevator and a swimming pool lift.
In Timiș county there are over 2,200 children with disabilities registered (blind children, children with Down syndrome, autism, quadriplegia, paraplegia etc.) who need recovery by one of the best-established therapies applied for treating diseases related to slow physical development, i.e. hydrotherapy.
When subjected to hydrotherapy, people with disabilities are usually confronted with the following problems:
1. Difficult access to transportation => 50% of children come from boarding schools for children with special needs or from the orphanage in the city. Some of these institutions have their own minibus, but they do not have a driver. Besides, minibuses are not adapted to carry children in wheelchairs. The remaining 50% of the children come to therapy accompanied by their parents, traveling by private or public transportation – some of them are even hitchhiking from out of the city.
2. Difficult movement on the premises => there are no indoor wheelchairs dedicated strictly to transfer the children from the locker room to the swimming pool or to the showers and this hinders their movement on the premises. Also, the access of children in wheelchair, who are receiving therapy in the swimming pool, is difficult on the stairs inside the arena.
The project of the Asociația mamei Junior was initiated in 2012 with over 100 beneficiaries annually. Thanks to this project additional 100 children enjoyed free access to hydrotherapy in 2016.
Therapy sessions are conducted in two centers fitted with swimming pools, under the guidance of a team made up of a physician, three physiokinetotherapists and one psychologist (social worker). The team is backed up on a permanent basis by another 15 volunteers.
The funding provided by Vodafone Romania Foundation has ensured project continuity during 2016. The funds allocated covered the rent for the two centers accommodating the hydrotherapy sessions, the salaries of the members of the team in charge with project implementation, the purchase of one stair lift (for wheelchairs), one underwater treadmill and one transport vehicle adapted to the needs of children with disabilities. The vehicle ensures transportation of children from outside the city of Timișoara to the hydrotherapy sessions.
The results of the therapy are encouraging: 10 of the 63 children aged up to 7 years with physical disabilities conditions, who participate in therapy sessions, have managed to walk unassisted.
The project’s beneficiaries have also participated in two swimming competitions organized especially for them, at the end of which 78% of the children were able to swim unassisted. The main purpose of these competitions is to help the participating children gain more self-confidence and demonstrate both to them and to their parents the progress they make owing to the hydrotherapy sessions. The competitions are also designed to raise awareness among community members, encouraging them not to discriminate against children with disabilities.