Parents of children with disabilities in Vrbas organized the “Multiart” association to facilitate the organization of free time for their children, exchange experiences, take a break from everyday chores and be more visible in the community.
For the third year in a row, fifteen kids from Vrbas with various forms of disabilities, along with their parents as guardians, stayed at a mini camp in Gučevo, near Loznica. Every day was full of dance, drawing lessons (art therapy), visits to the pool, walks along forest paths – all in accordance with the abilities of the young guests. Camp participants visited the Petkovica and the Sunčana Reka ethno-village, and they also found time to visit a playground. Boris Bjelović, the coordinator of the programme “Support the Family – Gučevo 2017”, stated that this programme is free for all participants and very important not just for the kids, but also their parents.
“We travel to another town and the children enjoy having activities while they are on vacation. Many mothers and fathers are unable to organize summer vacations by themselves. There are experts at the camp, too – a speech therapist and special education teacher – so not only can the parents exchange experiences, but also receive advice and professional support”, explains Bijelović, himself the father of a boy with an autism-spectrum disorder. (…)
The “Multiart” association was founded over a decade ago, i.e. in 2006. Due to the efforts of a group of humane Vrbas citizens, in the beginning the Association organized activities such as concerts to collect money for the treatment of children with rare diseases and the procurement of aids and tools. (…) Recently, however, they have been focused on content contributing to the improvement of the daily lives of their kids, and therefore the families. Thus, every Saturday they gather at the Association office in the old municipality building, while the kids are in the park. Before the meetings they can take them to use some of the free slots for “kid sports” at the karate club hall or at the pool.
The members of the “Multiart” association are also proud that over three years ago, in cooperation with another organization, they initiated and implemented the first survey on the number of families with children with disabilities in the municipality of Vrbas. Maja Kuč, a pedagogue, says that they have been diligently collecting data from the field for four months, from the city and seven surrounding settlement. A sizable overview of 218 kids with some form of disability became part of the municipal documentation and one of the arguments in favour of the need to establish a daycare. A decision was adopted at the local level on reconstructing an old house for these needs, with project implementation entrusted to the Centre for Social Work. They are impatient to see the daycare open as soon as possible, and hope it will happen as early as next year.
As of a month ago, “Multiart” volunteers are also participating in a regional informal movement entitled “Drivers with a Generous Heart”. As part of this activity, volunteers drive persons with disabilities, without remuneration, to accommodations also provided free-of-charge by tourist workers in Croatia and Montenegro.