The godfather of the Boyarka Sensory Room

May 6, 2018

One of the winners of the «Productive Communities» project, implemented by the GURT Resource Center and the World Jewish Relief, implemented its business project with a social component — opened the sensory room in Boyarka, Kyiv region. The room became the focus for adaptation and rehabilitation of children with special needs and relaxation space for a wide range of visitors. Its creation became possible due to the persistence of the author of the project and the active support of the mayor of Boyarka. The solemn opening took place on April 24, 2018.

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The combination of love for children, the enthusiasm of the founder, effective communication with local authorities, support from foreign donors and the work of the GURT Resource Center made possible the emergence of a rehabilitation space for children with special needs in the city of Boyarka, near Kiev. This project harmoniously combines a business idea and a social goal. The inhabitants of the small town were deprived of the opportunity to receive modern and professional assistance and to adapt children with special needs to social life. From now on, the sensory room with the corresponding equipment, which appeared due to the participation of its founder in the project «Productive Communities», helps children with special needs. And not only. Psychologists say that the sensory room will help relieve the mental load of ordinary children who are stressed and their tired parents.

The grand opening of the sensory room at the Family Hub Maternity Support Center in Boyarka was held on April 24, 2018. The event was attended by parents with children, employees of the Center, project author Lyudmyla Yashchenko, deputy mayor of Boyarka Tetyana Kochkova and representatives of the GURT Resource Center — Executive Director Bohdan Maslych and Project Coordinator Maria Pelypenko.

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«Productive communities»: help from the idea to the project implementation

Lyudmyla Yaschenko for two years sought to create a rehabilitation center for children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) in his hometown — Boyarka. As the woman says, the need for such a cell has long been over, she has a lot of familiar mother with children who have ASDs, and they inspired her in the early stages of the project. «If you can do this, do it!» Lyudmyla recalled the words of his associates.

The opening of the sensory room is the result of Ludmilla’s participation in the «Productive Communities» project, implemented by the GURT Resource Center with the support of World Jewish Relief (WES). Project participants, start-up entrepreneurs, trained, received professional assistance and expert advice, developed business plans, received funding from donors and implemented their projects.

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The author of the project recalls that initially she turned to the city authorities with the idea of Creating a sensory room, but by that time she was told that there was no opportunity to help. However, the information about the importance of such a project in Boyarka did not go unnoticed and eventually found its destination. As soon as the GURT Resource Center started working on the «Productive Communities» project, the mayor of Boyarka Oleksandr Zarubin proposed to participate with the project of the sensory room, developed by Lyudmyla Yashchenko. On the importance of communication between the community and local authorities, Tatiana Kochkova, Deputy Mayor, said: «If there is any idea, then you must talk about it. Costly ideas come to life, even if not immediately. »

Harmonious combination of material assistance with the interest of founders usually provides sustainability and further development of the project. «To work on such projects, it is not enough to have a developed business plan,» says Lyudmyla Yashchenko, «it’s also worth living with your idea, trusting in it and inspiring others, because in this area there is a high level of emotional burnout. It is important that this is not exclusively a social project, it involves the possibility of earning money, because the funds are needed to pay for specialists, maintenance of equipment in a proper condition, etc. The very enthusiasm for the existence of such a project would be enough for a short time. »

«The development of local communities and the foundation of civil society are strategic priorities for GURT» commented Bohdan Maslych, Executive Director of the GURT Resource Center. — We believe that small business is a key component of a solid foundation of civil society and community innovation. The opening of the sensory room in Boyarka is an example of an effective social investment that became possible thanks to the creative energy of the local entrepreneur, Lyudmyla Yashchenko, the persistent work of the GURT team and the financial support of World Jewish Relief. »

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The sensory room — a space for rehab and relaxation

At the opening of the room there were parents with children of all ages and different needs. Some of the guests admitted that they did not even know about such sensory rooms and them advantages and also about they are need this servise. But after telling the specialists of the Center, the parents were immediately interested in: when can children be brought to?

The young visitorscut the solemn ribbon in front of the entrance to the room. All presented people could see a real miracle, and the youngest visitors immediately mastered the shining objects that captured their attention.

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«The sensory room is an interactive environment, which completely neutralizes all the stressful situations of the outside world. Due to this, the child or an adult in it can feel safe, — psychologist of center Natalia Kolesnikova’s points out. — This is useful not only for children diagnosed with ASD, but also for their parents, who often experience exhaustion. »

The sensory room is designed for sensory integration, mental and physical rehabilitation, neuropsychological correction, game therapy, training and relaxation of children, both normal and with special needs (autism, developmental delay, hyperactivity, children with learning difficulties, cognitive disorders, disorders of concentration and attention, behavioral disorders, etc.). However, the room should be used both for parents of children with special needs and for ordinary children, when they have difficulties in studying or communicating with their peers, and pregnant women, and young mothers with a childcare leave, which are tired of maternity work. The potential audience of visitors is quite broad.

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In this room, besides special lighting and sound, there is still a special equipment that affects all senses. The equipment has already been purchased and the room is ready to receive visitors. The Center will have three specialists — osteopaths and psychologists. Also in the room, it is planned to hold educational events and trainings for children and their parents next to the room itself.

Creating a с will help in social adaptation and integration for many young visitors, and will be a good example for those entrepreneurs who are planning their own business project with a social component.

«Productive communities» is a project of the GURT Resource Center, which promotes the development of Borodyanka, Boyarka and Vasilkov communities in the Kyiv oblast by strengthening the capacity of small businesses and the inclusion of vulnerable segments of the population in these communities. Donor of the project – World Jewish Relief.