Study the possible involvement of people with disabilities

Study the possible involvement of people with disabilities (2017-1-HU01-KA104-035702)

Increasing international demands that the advocacy and service provider organizations involve their main beneficiaries into the leadership of the institution. The Hand in Hand Foundation aim is to promote the human right of the persons living with disability by involving them into its leadership. Within the framework of the project, our staff memebrs and an expert by experience person who has been working with us for some time study and learn the regarding practice of the Finnish KVPS organization within 3 five days study visit . Each organizational unit involved, so all the professional and operational leadership and professional working groups (methodological, occupational, opinion-forming) members can verify the good practice of stakeholders around a different aspect. The good practice will be built into the operational work within a structured framework. We will analyze, adapt and build into our daily practice the suitable and adaptable elements of the best practice. The primary impact of the project is the developing organizational culture of the Foundation. In addition directly reflected in the quality of life of those involved in the development and who can work with us in shaping the organizational profile. Social impacts among people with disabilities to appear in a new role and strengthening inclusion.

We will pass on our experience and developing perating practices to other organizations and to introduce a number of other projects.

During the study visit to Finland we examined the involvement of people with disabilities in certain activities of the organization. For me, as a project leader, it was important to see how they can be involved in the development processes of the different activities of the organization, what kind of tasks can be assigned to them and how they can be part of decision making. During the visit, we became acquainted with several organizations that cooperate with our host, KVPS (Kehitysvammaisten Palvelusäätiö). This foundation is one of the largest providers of social services in Finland. The process of deinstitutionalisation is taking place in the country in the current years, and KVPS plays a very important role in it. A significant part of the gambling revenue in Finland is given to the foundation, which then buys housing for people with disabilities in which they can live independently. The flats/apartments are selected jointly by the people with disabilities, taking into account their needs and preferences, and also ensuring so that the housing can be sustainable from the income of those who live in it. KVPS is the owner of the apartments and the people with disabilities living in it are the tenants who pay the rent. Those who cannot live on their own due to their condition are living in smaller, community-based homes that are owned either by a civil organization or by the local government. Although people living in homes need more support, thanks to the person-centered approach they also take part in decision-making in questions related to their lives. During a visit to one of these homes, we learnt from the staff that the testing and the daily use of the curricula of the STEPS project, which was implemented in a strategic partnership with us as an Erasmus + project in the previous years, has brought some changes in the operation of the home. Using the tools and methods described in the STEPS project, the staff recognized that the people with disabilities have skills and abilities that they had not recognized previously and started to involve them more actively in different activities. Another important experience was the meeting with Auli Leiniö. Auli is a person with disabilities living in a supported living home and working at KVPS for 4 days a month. He works there as a project assistant, and he is responsible for recording, processing and summarising the results of the evaluation forms related to the different trainings held at the organisation. The Finnish rules determine how much people with disabilities are allowed to earn monthly so that they remain still entitled to the cash benefits they receive from the state or from their local government. These benefits fundamentally cover their living costs and needs, so the number of people on the open labour market is not high. Auli found out for himself that he wanted to work at KVPS. A few years ago he travelled to Austria through an Erasmus + project of KVPS, where he met several people with disabilities who had administrative jobs, and he also felt like doing it. He wrote a letter to the KVPS staff describing his wish to work at the organization, and after overcoming several administrative barriers, eventually he was hired. It was inspirational to see his spiritedness and steadfastness, and it was a special experience that, although indirectly, this was due to an EU project. During the study trip, one of the most important experiences was that small steps could be taken to involve people with disabilities in getting acquainted with the different work processes, to give space to their opinions, and to base some development processes on their experiences.

Studying the involvement of people with disabilities in the management of the organization
Summary report of the 1st study tour

Practice and impact of involving people with disabilities in the operations of the organization at the operational and management level, as well as in external communication and public opinion-forming activities.

Name of participant: Ákos Pordán, managing director
Host organization name: KVPS, Wärjäämö, ASPA
Location of the Study Tour: Tampere, Helsinki (Finland)
Date: 2018th March 25-30.

During the study trip meetings in connection with the involvement of people with disabilities in management activities were: KVPS management, Wärjäämö day-care institution, Metse's self-advocacy organization.
We have seen different ways of selecting people with disabilities. At KVPS the persons involved in the management are not service users of the organisation. Their involvement did not go from one day to the next. It took nearly 10 years to succeed in choosing the skilled persons with mental disabilities who could accomplish this task and to secure the safe environment for them. At Wärjäämö (offering direct services to service users) people with disabilities are selected from their own service users and they operate the services in a democratic way. Here, the selection goes faster, and the involved persons may change as well. We also met an independent legal entity, a self-advocacy organization (METSE) whose members are people with disability. In over 20 years they managed to gather 1000 members.
The inclusive activities are also different at each organization. Wärjäämö: at the service level meetings are held on a regular basis that are led by persons with disabilities in a formalized way, involving officials. KVPS: the management meets every two months and they invite also a board member with disability. METSE: meetings are held on a monthly basis. The selection procedure is different at the different levels: service level, management level, or at the self-advocacy organization.
Persons with disabilities receive continuous professional training and support tailored to their abilities in the form of easy-to-understand materials and personal advice. In carrying out the activity, people with disabilities receive the necessary professional and administrative assistance at all levels necessary to perform the activity. They get reimbursement in connection with their work, but they don't get a salary. Moral and friendly appreciation means motivation for them.
The exchange of people with disabilities involved in activities is different at the different organizations:
Wärjäämö: There are minor changes at the service level, but in case of more important positions, like the person of the president has not changed for a long time. If a new client arrives or an old one goes away, this can make a change.
KVPS: The person with disability involved in the management was selected 10 years ago, he has a stable position, it does not change.
METSE: They work with a roughly stable membership, no major changes.
There are no major difficulties with the involvement of people with disabilities nowdays. This process has been going on for more than 20 years, so the system is now running smoothly with the right mechanisms.
In Finland the involvement of persons with disabilities at different levels of the organisations started in the 1990s following Swedish and English examples. Finland has deep democratic engagement and experience both in the school system and at the workplaces, so it has been relatively easy to introduce these mechanisms and to involve people with disabilities.
The greatest successes were observed in the following areas:
By involving people with disabilities, services and institutions are more likely to take into account the needs and opinions of the clients. Institutional mechanisms have been introduced to involve people with disabilities, which significantly increased the service users' satisfaction. Overall, the quality of services has increased considerably.
Regarding our subject all of the above practices are good and to be followed: from the organizational management point of view KVPS, involving persons with disabilities into the work of the board of trustees, on the service level the practice of Wärjäämö, involving clients in the management of their own destiny, and in the case of METSE, the organized and supported operation of the self-advocats.

Studying the involvement of people with disabilities in the management of the organization
Summary report of the 2nd study tour

Name of participant: Zsuzsa Rozgonyi, program manager
Host organization name: KVPS
Location of the Study Tour: Tampere (Finland)
Date: 2018 June 10-16

During the study visit to Finland we examined the involvement of people with disabilities in certain activities of the organization. For me, as a project leader, it was important to see how they can be involved in the development processes of the different activities of the organization, what kind of tasks can be assigned to them and how they can be part of decision making. During the visit, we became acquainted with several organizations that cooperate with our host, KVPS (Kehitysvammaisten Palvelusäätiö). This foundation is one of the largest providers of social services in Finland. The process of deinstitutionalisation is taking place in the country in the current years, and KVPS plays a very important role in it. A significant part of the gambling revenue in Finland is given to the foundation, which then buys housing for people with disabilities in which they can live independently. The flats/apartments are selected jointly by the people with disabilities, taking into account their needs and preferences, and also ensuring so that the housing can be sustainable from the income of those who live in it. KVPS is the owner of the apartments and the people with disabilities living in it are the tenants who pay the rent. Those who cannot live on their own due to their condition are living in smaller, community-based homes that are owned either by a civil organization or by the local government. Although people living in homes need more support, thanks to the person-centered approach they also take part in decision-making in questions related to their lives. During a visit to one of these homes, we learnt from the staff that the testing and the daily use of the curricula of the STEPS project, which was implemented in a strategic partnership with us as an Erasmus + project in the previous years, has brought some changes in the operation of the home. Using the tools and methods described in the STEPS project, the staff recognized that the people with disabilities have skills and abilities that they had not recognized previously and started to involve them more actively in different activities. Another important experience was the meeting with Auli Leiniö. Auli is a person with disabilities living in a supported living home and working at KVPS for 4 days a month. He works there as a project assistant, and he is responsible for recording, processing and summarising the results of the evaluation forms related to the different trainings held at the organisation. The Finnish rules determine how much people with disabilities are allowed to earn monthly so that they remain still entitled to the cash benefits they receive from the state or from their local government. These benefits fundamentally cover their living costs and needs, so the number of people on the open labour market is not high. Auli found out for himself that he wanted to work at KVPS. A few years ago he travelled to Austria through an Erasmus + project of KVPS, where he met several people with disabilities who had administrative jobs, and he also felt like doing it. He wrote a letter to the KVPS staff describing his wish to work at the organization, and after overcoming several administrative barriers, eventually he was hired. It was inspirational to see his spiritedness and steadfastness, and it was a special experience that, although indirectly, this was due to an EU project. During the study trip, one of the most important experiences was that small steps could be taken to involve people with disabilities in getting acquainted with the different work processes, to give space to their opinions, and to base some development processes on their experiences.

In Hungarian