© SOS Autism
"I don't suffer from autism; I suffer from the way you treat me!" was Viorica's answer when asked how a child with autism understands inclusion. Viorica Vornicescu is the coordinator of medical-social programs within the SOS Autism public association. The organization provides medical evaluation and diagnostic services for children with autism. SOS Autism is accredited by CNAM (National Health Insurance Company) and is receiving funding from CNAM until the end of 2023.
The centre offers behavioural therapy services to children with the aim of maximizing the benefits of early intervention. In addition, the centre offers training and psychological counselling to their families, as well as to primary and secondary school teachers who are accredited by ANACEC (National Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and Research). Since the start of the conflict, SOS Autism has actively supported refugees from Ukraine by providing accommodation and basic needs (e.g. hygiene, food, non-food items, livelihood, education in emergencies, etc.). Viorica and her team have been gradually integrating Ukrainian children into schools in the Republic of Moldova; they have also assisted multiple refugee families in finding employment. Viorica maintains strong working relationships with the Ministries of Health and Labor and Social Protection to develop the required documents for the continuous accreditation of SOS Autism’s services.
Viorica attended all the training and workshops organized by Humanity & Inclusion (HI) including, "How to collect and use disaggregated disability data using the Washington Group of Questions (WGQ)," in October 2023, as well as the, "Inclusive Project Cycle Management (IPCM) in humanitarian action," and the activity, "Multi-stakeholder awareness raising on inclusive education and employment," in November 2023. The training was delivered under the SYNERGIES consortium project*, “Strengthening social cohesion and resilience of Moldovan society to the challenges of hosting Ukrainian refugees,” and targeted humanitarian actors including international NGOs, UN agencies, Red Cross and more importantly, representatives of local Civil Society Organizations (CSO) including Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPD).
Inclusive humanitarian action is immensely important for Viorica and her organization. The demands, principles, and objectives of the organization are directly informed by persons with disabilities and their families. Viorica's extensive experience with working with persons with disabilities have given her a deep understanding of the challenges they face and how to address them. According to Viorica, “it is important to note that society should not make assumptions on behalf of persons with disabilities. Due to the social, medical, and educational inclusion within the organization, we are aware of the necessary steps to ensure inclusivity.”
Viorica decision to join the trainings organized by HI were prompted by her desire to further improve her knowledge and skills in order to support and contribute to global initiatives on inclusion. Furthermore, Viorica was eager to better understand the IASC must-do actions as well as the Twin-Track Approach to disability inclusive programming, as well as the Washington Group Questions for collection of disability disaggregated data in line with global standards and the rights-based approach to disability identification. Learning about the WGQ helped her realize the importance of using the tool to accurately identify disability in order to monitor access to services, capture and analyse needs, and ensure inclusion in project activities. Viorica intends to apply these methods to international projects in the future.
Viorica believes that if all disability organizations in the Republic of Moldova use the Washington Group of Questions (WGQ), “We can have a database that accurately reflects the reality of persons with disabilities,” which can improve the situation in the Republic of Moldova, increase societal awareness and knowledge.
* SYNERGIES consortium composed of Solidarités International (consortium lead), Humanity & Inclusion and Médecins du Monde. The SYNERGIES consortium is currently implementing the project entitled, “Strengthening social cohesion and resilience of Moldovan society to the challenges of hosting Ukrainian refugees” with the shorter project name, “Moldova Stability & Resilience Project (SRP).” The SRP Project is co-financed by the Agence Française de Développement and Fondation de France.
This document is supported by Agence Française de Développement. Nevertheless, the ideas and opinions presented do not necessarily represent those of AFD.
This project is co-financed by the Agence Française de Développement and Fondation de France.