Sviesa .pdf

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Author: Van Tran

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Name: Tran Minh Van
Mykolas Romeris University
Faculty of Social Technologies
: +370 6383 7323

This week, we had a chance to visit a 20-year-old social center called Sviesa
(Light) for our last seminar. This is a center for mentally and physically disabled people
funded by government. There are 70 clients, 50 staff including social workers in the
center. The main mission of Sviesa is to help the disabled people integrate well in the
society and make them visible to the community.
Clients who come to the center at the beginning will choose their own favourite
crafting workshop and attend to learn those skills. There are knitting, pottery and sewing
workshop where clients can make crafted stuff and sell them in fairs; there is a studio
room where they can learn and practice dancing and performing. Clients here are not
divided by ability and strength, but they work together instead. Clients only stay during
daytime; however, there is capacity in the center for some to stay overnight.
Currently, the center is raising fund to publish a photo-book which was drawn by a
client here. The center also attended TV show to promote their activities, to draw
attention from the community and to make the disabled people visible to the society. It is
said that old generation usually had a different attitude towards to members of the family
who were disabled, for instance, they would be sent to special institutions where they
received special training. At Sviesa, clients are treated equally with everyone else and the
mission of this center is to make them equal with other people.
We were told that the clients usually feel shy when they first come to the center
and there is no psychologist to deal with this, only psychiatrist. Social workers help them
integrate in the environment by using a special method. Firstly, social workers create a
safe environment for clients and make them feel safe. Then they help clients become
independent and capable of doing things by themselves. After that, clients are able to
make friends, communicate with other clients in the center and become more sociable.
The main tasks of social workers here are to provide skill training to a specific group of
clients and to monitor them during daytime. Moreover, social workers work on funding
projects and create activities to promote the center to the society. Sometimes, social
workers hold excursion trip for clients to go around and enjoy.

Name: Tran Minh Van
Mykolas Romeris University
Faculty of Social Technologies
: +370 6383 7323

One of the difficulties the center is facing is that when the client’s parents pass
away or when the clients do not have any other relative, it is the center’s big
responsibility to take care of them. The other problem is that the government wants to
take down the center because it is located in a valuable area which can be used for
commercial purposes. They all have to fight in order to keep the center from being taken
I was so much impressed by the center and especially by the clients. They all have
hidden talents that even their families cannot discover, they can knit a better scarf than
me and they are really friendly and simple. There is no intention or boundary between
them, they understand each other no matter where they are from. There is no such kind of
social center in my country. Disabled people are kept in the families and taken care by
their families or sent to special institutions. There is only one coffee shop opened by a
Japanese lady which gives serving job to those who have Down syndrome as I mentioned
in the previous reflection. In my country, disabled people are neither discriminated nor
treated equally as other people, they only look at disabled people with sympathetic eyes.

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