Lumos Moldova has completed the "Generate Evidence on Refugee Children with Disabilities to Improve Access to Relevant Services" project, to improve access to vital services for Ukrainian refugee children with disabilities.
This initiative, backed by financial support from UNICEF, culminated in the presentation of key findings to the members of working groups for child protection and education, established at the onset of the Ukrainian refugee crisis.
The four-month-long project, navigated through three pivotal phases:
- Mapping of Ukrainian refugee children with disabilities and research methodology development
- Initial individual assessment of needs for Ukrainian refugee children with disabilities
- Complex assessment and identification of individual needs for Ukrainian refugee children with disabilities
Before commencing planned activities, Lumos conducted training sessions on safeguarding and child protection, as well as policies for prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA). This training extended to all project personnel, including Lumos staff and field operators, along with representatives from partner ministries. Additionally, new contributors, such as medical specialists involved in the complex assessment, received training on the same subjects.
Representatives from the district psycho-pedagogical assistance services, accompanied by community social workers, conducted the initial assessments for 76 children. Following this evaluation, 48 children were recommended for a comprehensive assessment conducted by medical specialists, contracted from the Mother and Child Institute - the state medical institution that provides a full range of medical services for children of all ages.
For many of the refugee children, this project marked their first comprehensive medical examination since arriving in Moldova. Parents expressed gratitude for the opportunity to aid their children's education integration, while being far away from home.
The assessment will inform the procurement and distribution of assistive technologies, crucial for facilitating the inclusion of Ukrainian refugee children with disabilities into the Moldovan education system.