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Swedish (Västerbotten) Karelian
Business and Information Centre


No Limits in Life, 2017-2018

The project is implemented in Karelia with the support of the International Center for Local Democracy (ICLD). The project was one of the first, approved under the new SIDA program for cooperation with Russia, which aims to develop links between the municipalities of Northwest Russia and their partners in Sweden.

Period of implementation

1.06.2017 — 30.11.2018.

Geography of the project

  • Commune Robertsfors (province of Västerbotten);
  • Sortavala (Republic of Karelia);
  • Pryazha (Republic of Karelia);
  • Kostomuksha (Republic of Karelia).

Objective of the project

Increase the level of socialization of people with disabilities.

In each participating Karelian municipality the project involves representatives of the local administrations, municipal social service centers, representatives of employment services and public organizations. The project activities in each municipality are coordinated with the local mayor and/or deputy mayor on social development. At the regional level, the project has been strengthened through the participation of regional authorities from Karelia, namely the Labor and Employment Service of the Republic of Karelia, which, among other things, is responsible for implementing regional programs to promote employment for people with disabilities.

The Swedish-Karelian Business and Information Center is responsible for administration and financial management of the project.

After the project started in June 2017, a number of activities has been implemented:

  1. Trainings for social workers (one two-day training for each Karelian municipality, September-October 2017). In total, more than 100 people (all social workers from the three participating areas) attended the training. It is worth mentioning separately that for the overwhelming majority of participants this was the first opportunity for professional skills upgrade.

    During the training the following topics were presented:
    • New Russian legislation regulating services for people with disabilities;
    • Modern social technologies for the elderly and disabled (technical equipment of apartments, provision of qualified assistance at home, etc.);
    • Socio-cultural rehabilitation of people with disabilities (ways to organize leisure, art therapy, etc.);
    • Occupational therapy (recommendations on providing an environment that is friendly to people with disabilities and promoting active and safe lifestyles);
    • Social adaptation of disabled children in schools and kindergartens, methods of working with parents of disabled children, their teachers (for Kostomuksha).
  2. Study tour to Sweden / Västerbotten, October 2017.
    The program of the trip was aimed at acquaintance with the methods of employment and socialization of people with disabilities. The group visited the communes of Skelleftea, Umeå, Robertsfors. More about the places of visit.
  3. As a result of the study tour, round tables were held in Kostomuksha dn Sortavala, presenting the Swedish experience and discussinп possibilities of adapting some interesting methods abd approaches. In particular, in Kostomuksha it was decided to start up a social café for the disabled and the elderly in the city, and also to begin work on the development of a volunteer movement to accompany people with disabilities.
  4. In Kostomuksha, special information boards for people with impaired vision were developed and prepared for installation in the framework of the project.

    In the future plans of the project:
  5. Development and publication of guidelines on social rehabilitation of people with disabilities. The publication will collect the results of local trainings, the experience gained during communication with the Swedish partners and the impressions of the study visits. The brochure will be distributed to local social workers and municipal workers in charge of social assistance.
  6. Organization of workshops for local volunteers. A series of seminars in each municipality. Strengthening local volunteer networks, learning Swedish experience.
  7. Round tables with the participation of representatives of municipalities, local enterprises and the Ministry of Labor and Employment of Karelia, discussion of issues of expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
  8. Develop an action plan to improve socialization of people with disabilities — for each of the three Karelian municipalities. Identification of funding sources and responsible parties. These programs should be launched as a result of the project and use the best practices, while maintaining the sustainability of the results.