Over the last twenty years in Western countries people with disabilities have been increasingly integrated and included in all areas of life – including education, employment, and social activities. In Ukraine, however, people with disabilities remain largely excluded and almost no services are available to them. JDC is working through the Hesed Center, an organization that provides social services and community programs for the Jewish community, to address this lack of services for people with disabilities, improve their quality of life, and help them integrate into society.
The current project, which was conducted at the end of 2013, surveyed young adults with disabilities served by the Hesed Center in the city of Kharkov in eastern Ukraine. The focus on young adults, ages 18-40 reflects the belief that this population has a relatively high potential for rehabilitation. The survey was commissioned by JDC-FSU with the support of the Ruderman Family Foundation. The goal was to describe the situation of the Hesed clients with disabilities and to identify their major needs, in order to form a basis on which to plan appropriate services. As this data relates to people who are already receiving services from Hesed, their situation is better, most likely, than that of other people with disabilities in Kharkov who do not receive services.