Romania: the Si-Tu project
The goal of the training facility Si-Tu, located in Constanta, is to help disable children to integrate into society. Together with SKF Sweden, SKF Romania is one of the sponsors supporting the training centre.
During the late eighties the Swedish national television was airing a documentary -“Ceaucescus’ Children” - about the Romanian psychiatric healthcare, where disabled children were deserted by their parents and the hardship these children were exposed to.
Consequently a non-profit organization, Bräcke Diakoni started in Sweden, committed to support Si-Tu in their work to help disabled children to be better integrated and accepted in society.
“A lot has happened in the last 15 years, but still there are attitudes among families that it is OK to “leave” disabled children in an institution, depriving the boys or girls from the possibility to attend school and to develop”, says Karin Guttman, the project manager for Si-Tu operations.
The SKF Group is encouraging local SKF units to engage in and support countries and regions with more needs for social support. SKF in Sweden have chosen to cooperate with SKF Romania in supporting the Si-Tu project. The joint-support from SKF Sweden and SKF Romania enables the institution to acquire more training equipment, making it possible for the institution to support the children when they reach their teenage years.
Si-Tu means “You too”, and is founded in an apartment in Constanta, Romania. Physic therapist, Morisena is helping the children with the physical development and Juliana,who is a psychologist, is working with the children on speech development and therapeutic support for the children and their families.
In spite of limited resources, 40 families come here and receive support annually, many of whom stay several years depending on the child’s individual needs.
“We receive inquiries from parents all the time, sometimes we have to say no because we don't have the capacity. In each case we sit down with the family to talk about realistic expectations and agree on an individual care plan,” explains Juliana.
Morisena and Juliana also arranges family activities, allowing families in similar situation to gather and find support in each other, creating a social network among them. Parent education in taking care of children is also arranged.
“We spend a lot of time contacting school headmasters to get the children into ordinary school or pre-school. Unfortunately there is still stigma in the school system which hinders disabled children to attend regular education and it is a daunting task to change this mentality,” tells Juliana.