The 3rd of December 2016 was International Day of Persons with Disabilities and that week the Nova Nada (New Hope) Special Education and Rehabilitation Center in Kovači, near Tomislavgrad, organized an “open door” day. A team from the Turkish-manned LOT house in Livno visited the event to learn about the special work and activities conducted by the center.

LOT personnel joining in with the creative activities

LOT personnel joining in with the creative activities

Specially trained carers supported by volunteers provide mentally handicapped children and teenagers with tailored education programs, addressing the specific needs of each individual. They are not just painting and playing games but conducting activities which promote important changes in children's lives and social development as well as helping some improve their motor movements. Socialization is important for all children because it provides them knowledge of the world around them, builds trust and self-esteem and creates friendships and networks.

The theme of the day was ‘’you are not alone’’ and the Turkish troops ensured the children were not, taking part in various activities with them. They helped the children with their work and were able to taste some simple dishes prepared by a student chef. Eight students from the Marka Marulića High School in Tomislavgrad also attended and joined in various common activities like drawing, painting and games. The interaction improved awareness and perception of equality and promoted awareness that everyone should be respected regardless of their differences. The pupils of the center sang songs, danced and even performed a role-play based on the story of Little Red Riding Hood. The event was a great opportunity for all visitors to break down barriers and to build awareness and mutual understanding.

One of the center’s children prepared a New Year’s greeting card for the LOT, showing her gratitude and how much their visit meant to her. Using just her imagination, she meticulously painted the card with the help of the LOT members and wrote the New Year’s wishes on it. The card will be kept in the LOT house as a memory of the day and a symbol of hope.

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