KEPEP, center for disabled kids, in Lehena town
KEPEP, center for disabled kids, in Lehena town
KEPEP is a center where seriously disabled kids, often abbandoned by their families, are taken care of. We use to call them kids although their age goes from 6 to 28 but they always act and look like kids. Some of the hosted mentally handicapped children are also physically handicapped. The structure is quite big with a number of paid staff, comprising 85 nurses. Apart from hosting the disabled children, KEPEP provides them the following services: medical diagnosis, physiotherapy, psychological and speech therapy and rehabilitation. A programme aiming to improve the abilities, condition and caring of off the children, is ran daily in the centre. What is missing is an active group of volunteers that could help the staff and run alternative activities for the childrens' free time. What the children need is a physical contact, a hug, a smile, songs from the people around.
KEPEP needs to receive volunteers in the frame of the EVS because the
local community does not offer any substantial voluntary support to the
centre. Patients in KEPEP are bed ridden and gravely ill. Although
competent and efficient paid staff take care of them, there is an
enormous need of young people to bring love and personal contact into
their lives and creativity in their free time. Nothing too complicated
is requested from the EVS volunteers. Listen to music, play with balls,
sing all together, clap their hands, go for a walk under the sun are
some of the various activities that EVS colunteers are called to
fullfill. Of course we stress on the importance that a simple smile and
hug can give. Verbal communication is not the important key for these
children. Even if at the beginning of the project, volunteers will not
be able to communicate in Greek, they have to try to communicate love,
care and affection to these special kids.
Volunteers hosted in KEPEP will have the possibility to live a strong experience that will help them in their personal growth and maturity. They will have the chance to learn how everyday life with people with specila needs can enrich them. They will understand that often the simpliest things can make others' lives better. Volunteers, working along with the professional staff, will be mainly involved in the free time activities that can be organized in the centre.
Volunteers, working beside professional staff, will be involved in free time activities of the kids hosted in the centre and they will have the possibility to create their own activities and agenda for them. Moreover, they will have the opportunity to get to know the greek way of life in a small local community like Lechena, that is pretty quiet during winter but offers lots of possibilities during summer, thanks to its wonderful beaches and touristic possibiliities.
Volunteers will be involved in the following activities:
1) Provide company and support to the kids hosted in the centre, without beeing involved in any rehabilitation activity
2) Assist the professional staff during meals, visits to the doctors and hospitals whenever needed etc
3) Take the children out for a walk, with or without a wheelchair
4) Organize the childrens' free time activities
The first ten days, volunteers will stay in Athens where they will follow an intensive course of Greek language organised by the co-ordinating organization. The language training will continue in Lechena for three hours per week. During the same days they will have the possibility to visit similar centres in Athens and to be supported by CVG's psychologist.
After ten days, volunteers will move to Lechena and will be hosted in KEPEP. The accommodation will be in the centre. The third floor is exclusively reserved to volunteers and conscientious objectors. They will have meals both in the centre or in local tavernas.
Volunteers will have the possibility to make excursions in Athens, Patra, Ancient Olympia, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and in the area around Lechena. Bicycles will be provided to the volunteers to move from KEPEP to the town or to the beach.
At the beginning, volunteers will be provided with vocational training. A tutor will support them in their first contact with the center. They can start to define and prepare the activities they will run with the kids. At first, due to the language barrier, volunteers' task will be to establish a physical communication with the kids. They will run mostly activities like playing with balls, clapping their hands, dancing, drawing, going for a walk under the sun, participating in games with colours.
It is, therefore, of vital importance that the volunteers on arrival speak out on whether they have special interests which can be met by the host project. Regular evaluation will be made with the volunteers and should they wish to change their work schedule, this will be taken into consideration; everything possible will be done to meet their wishes.
from December 2010 for 7 months