When saying “Vilshany” we mean Vilshany Orphanage, not a settlement. Since 1950, it has been founded for children, adolescents, and youth with disabilities (physical and mental) between the ages of 4 and 35.
At the beginning of our work there, it was a closed type institution. It was located in an isolated location, and its nature did not involve contacts with other partner organizations. This caused the situation at which the inhabitants appeared face to face with their lives and problems, and this separated them from the wider community: from people who could and wanted to support children, improve their living standards, and allow themselves to be part of their society.
Back in the late '90s, when the Iron Curtain fell and various international organizations became interested in Ukraine, French specialists from the Comité d'Aidé Médicale started operating in Zakarpattia. They came to the Vilshany Orphanage to provide professional, financial and medical support. Subsequently, this orphanage was one of the first in Ukraine to become an open institution, and an inscription "Welcome to our children" appeared on its gate. In cooperation with Ukrainian representatives at the Vilshany Orphanage, the activity was aimed at improving the conditions of the stay of children there. Until 2000, new sanitary facilities were created, hot water was brought and repairs were carried out. In the same years, the attitude of the staff towards the children has changed. This made it possible to foresee a new phase of the program and to start introducing another stage of the institution's development, namely the introduction of direct work with the inhabitants.
After the foundation of our local organization – Charitable Organization "Medical Aid Committee in Zakarpattia" in 2000, together with specialists from France, we have created a number of new units: occupational therapy, medical-educational unit, preparatory-social unit. Due to strong international cooperation, support from the Transcarpathian Regional Directorate for Social Protection of the Population, as well as the Directorate of the Vilshany Orphanage, it has finally become an open institution. For the first time, long-term relations were established with other Ukrainian institutions, including educational institutions. These included Mukachevo Humanities College and Uzhhorod National University. Removal of the status of a closed institution was one of the most important achievements. It made it possible to achieve an even more ambitious goal – to establish a dialogue between children and staff.
After 10 years of our activity in the orphanage, 25 inhabitants have achieved incredible development. However, under the system that was functioning at that time, the inhabitants had to be transferred to psycho-neurological dispensaries after 18 years of age. Caused by the limited capacity of the dispensaries, the authorities decided to extend the length of stay of the adult inhabitants and to establish units for young people on the basis of the institution. That was when our organization initiated the deinstitutionalization of young people and started the Parasolka Project - the foundation of full-fledged housing for "graduates" of the Vilshany Orphanage. In 2008 it started as a boarding school for youth and since 2017 – as a separate center in Tyachiv.
The Committee is currently operating in Vilshany. Due to the close cooperation with the director of the institution Bohdan Kykyna and the well-established work with the Department of Social Protection of the Population in Transcarpathian region, we are working towards updating the structure and improving the qualification level of the personnel, carrying out repair works.
Work with facility’s staff, namely teachers, job coaches, care and rehabilitation staff
Creation of a concept for teachers working with children aged 8-15 years
Creation of a concept for the personnel working with the inhabitants over 18 years
Creation of a concept for the personnel working on care for severely disabled inhabitants
Carrying out repair works, redevelopment and arrangement