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Statement regarding situation and the difficulties of day care centers which offer social care services for children with limited abilities.

Prishtinë, 20 January 2017 – the Ombudsperson, Mr. Hilmi Jashari, visited non-governmental organization (NGO) “PEMA” yesterday afternoon and met with representatives of this organization with the purpose to be informed regarding the difficulties and the current situation which this organization faces.

The above given organization, licensed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, its activities in provision of community based social services for children with disabilities has developed through day care centers in the municipality of Ferizaj, Peja, Prizren and Gjilan, until the end of 2016, in which 350 children participated regularly. Representatives of NGO “PEMA” informed the Ombudsperson that due to financial difficulties these Centers are at risk to be closed and as a result of that the children with limited abilities will be no longer in position to benefit from multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral services, which were offered to them until 2016.

The Ombudsperson displayed his deep concern regarding closure of these Centers and among others emphasized that the situation of this group of children in Kosovo is grave. Children with disabilities face many difficulties and obstacles in all grounds of life, including the enjoyment of the right to social services depending on the needs. In the field of education, respectively at school, they face improper school infrastructure, lack of personal assistants, supporting teachers and in many occasions of individual educational plans, the fact which denies to them full enjoyment of their right to inclusive and quality education as foreseen by the law.

In the field of health they encounter difficulties as per accomplishment of their right to quality and free of charge health services since they do not always have the opportunity to obtain free medication and other equipment that would enable to them health improvement, freedom of movement and life with dignity.

Due to insufficient number of day care centers, inclusion and provision of community- based social services for these children is poor. Moreover, at the beginning of this year, the situation in provision of community-based social services seems to deteriorate further as these centers are closed due to lack of financial support.

Children who benefited from the services provided in day care centers are not going to enjoy them anymore, in case municipal authorities fail to undertake appropriate actions in this direction, so that they can continue their work.

Thus the Ombudsperson calls upon central and municipal authorities but others who can assist in this regard as well, to provide appropriate support to these Centers, including financial support, so that they can continue their work and offer children assistance and appropriate social services in order to ensure their social integration and accomplishment of their rights in compliance with local and international legal standards.
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