Country, Date of election
Czech Republic 2000
Drahoslava Kabatova is creating hope and self-sufficiency for the disabled in the Czech republic by training them in the production and instruction of traditional craft, and helping them form communities of mutual support.
In the mid 90’s social services available to disabled people in the Czech Republic were generally deficient, as were the services that could help them become self-sufficient. Most often, young adults were leaving care institutions without the means to live on their own. The emphasis remained on rehabilitative care and the very real challenge of finding accommodation and jobs was ignored. After 18 years of Dája’s work on the integration of disabled people into society through rehabilitation, socialization and work integration, the main problem today is securing business orders for the special bakery and laundry they run. The stereotype that disabled people cannot produce quality products remains ingrained. Proving this assumption wrong during the first contact with potential clients is exhausting.
today is securing business orders for the special bakery and laundry they run. The stereotype that disabled people cannot produce quality products remains ingrained. Proving this assumption wrong during the first contact with potential clients is exhausting.
The average annual cost of running Letohrádek Vendula (LV) is 7.000.000 CZK, which is a quarter of what the state spends on a state care institution. Since LV’s inception in 1996, it has helped thousands of disabled people, inspired further social entrepreneurs to establish similar integration centers, special workshops and accommodation and assisted with consulting and methodological support. LV provided training to all state institutions’ staff of the Central Bohemian region on how to set up work activities and ergo-therapy for the people in their care, as well as how to assist with independent employment. Consistent awareness- raising campaigns by LV have significantly influenced the attitude of the public towards disabled people and thus improved their status in society.
From the moment it was launched, Letohrádek Vendula has been open to people with ANY type of health disability as it considers the current categorization of disabled people within state institutions as inefficient, unnatural and inhumane. An environment in which people of different ages and health conditions can interact is much more natural and conducive to creating natural relationships. Moreover, it creates additional motivation for people to work on personal development to keep up with peers, e.g., an illiterate person learns how to sign to catch up with his peers.The people who come to Letohrádek Vendula take care of each other and thus abandon the roles of „disabled“ and become equals. This encourages them to keep on developing, try new activities, learn, work and live.
Sheltered workshops of Letohrádek Vendula should become a thriving company which would cross-subsidize care services for severely disabled people and thus diminish their economic dependency on state subsidies.
When Dája was 21, her disabled daughter Kateřina was born and died soon after. The standard system of „care“ which existed in the 90’s seemed pointless, illogical and unnatural. Therefore, Dája started her work to change the system. Although, later on, she attempted to change focus several times, it always brought her back to this specialization and she realized that the work on integrating disabled people is her karmic task.