In order to learn more about the working practices of several centers noted for their high caliber and excellence, representatives of Finnish disability organizations traveled to Catalonia.
The visitors represented the Municipal Federation of Vaalijala and the Foundation for Intellectually Disabled People in the region of Savo (SAVAS). Around 25 people formed the group.
The visit organized by APSOCECAT had programmed three specific centres to see known for their high level of practice, the first being the Association Sant Tomàs an organization dedicated to the assistance of intellectually disabled people, and their families.
This covers the whole region of Osona, at 70 Km to the north from Barcelona city. The visitors could see, first hand, how the work service “Eina” and the work centre Tac Osona functioned, and check the labour integration of disabled people, in the gardening and cooking field.
The second organization was Ampans Foundation in Manresa, at 52 Km to the northwest from Barcelona city, where the visitors saw the installations of the occupational therapy centre called La Llum. The Jeroni de Moragas School, one of Catalonia’s most significant special education resources, as well as other residential centers and The Garden Center were also visible.
On the second day the group visited the Ave Maria Foundation in Sitges, at 24 Km from Barcelona in the Mediterranean coast, which is as well dedicated to the assistance and help of disabled people. They have an interesting network of assistance that includes a centre of legal issues named Entitat d’incapacitació Garraf Legal and a robotic centre called Institut de Robòtica.
Finnish and Catalonian representatives at the final session at the APSOCECAT premises
APSOCECAT undertook the final session of the presentation regarding the differences between Finland and Catalonia in dealing with disability. On behalf of the Finnish, Jouko Hamalain, director of Savas, and Ilkka Jokinen, general manager of the Federation Municipal Vaalijala participated. Speaking on behalf of the Catalans were the Province of Barcelona, the Institute of People with Disabilities of Barcelona, and the Welfare Minister.
Presentations were given by both the organizations visited and the APSOCECAT, a group working on the disability issue.
The superb standards of the centers they visited were complimented by the tourists. The difficulties they face were highlighted, demonstrating how the most recent understanding of efficient methods might help in identifying alternative solutions. The conversations opened up the possibility of network collaboration options.