Date: November 18, 2013

In the period of 18-21 November, 12 experts in the field of social protection, representatives of decision makers and civil society from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Ukraine are on a study visit in the Republic of Moldova, in order to learn from the experience of our country in the field of deinstitutionalization and social inclusion of persons with intellectual disabilities. The visit is organized by Keystone Moldova, within the framework of the "Community for All-Moldova" Program, with the financial support offered by the East East Beyond Borders Program of the Soros Foundation-Moldova.

During the visit, representatives of the four member countries of the Eastern Partnership will have many meetings and field visits with an opportunity to learn about the process of reforming the system of social protection of people with disabilities, and, in particular, about the innovative approach of the "Community for All - Moldova" Program in the process of deinstitutionalization and social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Ukraine are at the outset in the field of reforming the system of protection of persons with intellectual disabilities. In this context, participants in the study visit will meet successful practices in our country of the adjustment of the legal framework and the development of sustainable social services, alternative to the residential ones, which meet the specific needs of persons with disabilities, ensure their social integration, respect of their rights and improvement of life quality. Visiting social services, they will be able to communicate directly with the beneficiaries, with staff working in services and representatives of local public authorities, to find out about the service work and their impact on the life of persons integrated in them.

The visit will culminate with a national conference - "Deinstitutionalization opportunities and social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the Eastern Partnership countries," which will bring together in Chisinau 50 representatives of central and local authorities and civil society. Both representatives from Moldova and from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Ukraine will share their own experience in this field and, together, they will try to find better solutions for the integration of persons with intellectual disabilities into society.

Also, conference participants will develop a common regional strategy of deinstitutionalization of persons with intellectual disabilities and will define recommendations for the authorities of the Eastern Partnership countries on social inclusion of such persons.

Keystone Moldova contributes to the reform of the system of social care and protection of persons with disabilities in view of their social inclusion by means of the "Community for All - Moldova" Program. The Program is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family, with the financial support of the Open Society Foundations/Mental Health Initiatives and Soros-Moldova Foundation.

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