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Career search project Dzerzhinsk

Disabled young adults in Dzerzhinsk are being helped to find a career. In October FHM Board members visited the project to find out how it is doing. (Reporting by Patricia Stewart.)

The photo shows two young men who are in the project. The dark thin boy on the left (his name is Nikita) is autistic. He wants to do something with computers and has taught himself English on the computer. His mother is with him in the photo: she and his father would like to set him up with some sort of online business.

The other boy has hearing and auditory processing issues. He wants to be a welder like his older brother.

There are Russian laws to help disabled people and their right to work. Employers with 50 or more employees must hire one disabled person (or three, if they employ over a hundred). In general, people with physical disabilities can be, and are, incorporated. But is much harder for people with intellectual and social limitations.

The people in Dzerzhinsk are having real problems with this project and they were quite frank about them. There were many difficulties:

It was hard to locate clients, because shame inhibits many of them and their families. And the nature of their problems makes it hard for them to take part in group sessions. Group sessions require a level of socialization – and that is just what a lot of these young people lack, so they have required individual consultations instead.

Patricia writes: “I would love to see us help them further with this project… I had never been to Dzerzhinsk before. It is an impressive team. One thing that fascinates me is that they seek to inject these projects into the city’s social services. They do not keep doing them indefinitely themselves.

They said that the city has incorporated much of what they have done, although in some cases they did not hire more people to do the work, so that it is added to the workload of people who are already very busy.”

[Editor: We should congratulate the city of Dzerzhinsk for being ready to take on these new initiatives, as well as our friends in the Centre for Psychological, Medical and Social Support who use our financial support to make these good things happen.]