12/03/2014 - Final conference „Universal design – challenges or possibilities?“
The final conference of the project “My Social Responsibility” was held on the 12th of March in Liepaja (Latvia). During the conference the results of the project have been discussed. Also a discussion about universal design has been organised: the present situation and what should be changed, how universal design could be integrated into everyday life, the advantages and disadvantages of the universal design, the importance of universal design in providing social services. The representatives from Latvia and Lithuania shared information on the situation about the involvement of local municipalities in social projects. Also a lot of attention was paid to the companion-assistant and short-time stay services.




Universal design enters into the virtual space, therefore, not only buildings are applied to the needs of people with disabilities, but also websites. 

VšĮ EDUKACINIAI PROJEKTAI under the project My Social responsibility (LLIV-322) is currently applying their website for the disabled. At the end of the project, the organization website www.edupro.lt will have a function to increase content fonts. It will help people with eyes problems.

On the 19th of September during the international conference was presented the concept of personal assistant service for persons with functional impairment

On the 19th of September VšĮ Socialinių inovacijų centras organized the final international project’s “Place and Train” conference. During the conference partners’ consortium from UK, Greece, Spain, Netherlands and Lithuania had the opportunity to present practical tools designed for specialists working with people with mental impairment, developed during the project.

The international conference took place in Šiauliai Povilas Višinskis library’s conference hall. The conference gathered in more than hundred professionals from all over Lithuania, i.e. specialists interested in mental health issues. During the conference participants assured that they do not have many practical tools which would help people with mental impairment in finding a job or keep the job.

During the international conference there was presented Social responsibility stand, which disseminated the concept of personal assistant service for people with functional impairment.


02/09/2013 - The concept of the short-time stay service for persons with mental impairments

A short-time stay service concept is developed within the framework of Latvia-Lithuania Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013 co-financed project No.LLIV-322 "My Response" (hereinafter –project “My Response”). A development of the concept promotes understanding of agreed principles, offering piloting of the specific service and ensures support to the service providers. The joint social service concept is required to form a new social service accessible for clients from Latvia and Lithuania and promote cross-border cooperation. 

During the development of the concept, the expert became acquainted with the relevant regulatory legislation of both Latvia and Lithuania, project guidelines and with the actual situation which was assessed during the visits to the three project partner countries who plans to pilot provision of short time stay services for people with mental impairment. “Kurzeme planning region”, Dundaga County Council, Skrunda County Council and Joniskis "SAULES" basic school took an active part in the development of the concept. 

The present concept was developed on the basis of the advantages and opportunities of involved party institutions which were harmonised with the goals and tasks of the project. In terms of content and structure, this concept has been intentionally developed in a simpler form than other similar planning documents mainly stressing that one thing complements the next together giving full view of the service.

The concept of the short-time stay service for persons with mental impairments (LV) (EN)



This century has been full of innovation. New technologies, new products, whole new industries and new services have emerged, but still low quality of some social services, insufficient education for personnel and inaccessibility to the environment hindrances to social integration for people with a functional impairment. 

To solve these problems the Latvia-Lithuania Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013 LLIV-322 project My Social Responsibility partners are working on a cross border exchange of experience, specialist training and new joint social service companion-assistant, which is new possibility to make every day easier for people with a functional impairment and those close to them.

In 2013 VšĮ Edukaciniai projektai produced an assessment of current experience of the social service of a companion-assistant in Latvia, Lithuania, European Union (EU) and USA. After having made a qualitative research in few centres of social services, it can be concluded that people with a functional impairment have a need for a companion-assistant. For the physically disabled people the most important help is related to transportation and help with their personal needs (e.g. visit to a doctor or public institutions; prescription of medicine; help with purchasing food or other things etc). Mentally disabled people focused on communication as the main function of a companion-assistant. Research had shown that in a large number of social services’ providing institutions a companion-assistant service is provided in informal ways. These services are provided when the client wants to go to a bank, health care and other institutions. For these services they pay in terms of simple contract. 

Consequently the service of companion-assistant needs to be expanded. This concept concretizes the companion-assistant functions and tasks, potential working time recording, locations and ways, defines requirements for potential workers: level of knowledge, experience, competence and skills. 

Also potential cooperation partners (persons, organizations, etc.) are identified and payment principles for companion-assistant planned, some documentation forms are provided.



15th February 2013 - Pilot companion-asistant service for functionally impaired persons training

12-14th February in Šiauliai and 12-14th March in Venspils NGO EDUCATIONAL PROJETCS organised Latvia-Lithuania Cross Border Cooperation Programme project LLIV-322 ‘My Social Responsibility’ pilot Companion-assistant service for functionally impaired persons training. 

The 23 academic hours of training was led by experienced trainers from Lithuania and Latvia. Potential companions-assistants to training in Šiauliai came from Klaipėda and to the training in Ventspils came from Liepaja, Kuldiga, Nice and Saldus. In all these cities soon will begin a pilot assistant-companion service providing for children, adults and seniors with sensory, mental or physical disability, learning or developmental difficulties, after psychological or physical trauma.

During the three days training, the participants acquainted themselves with the all practical and theoretical information what each companion-assistant have to know about the service. Them were presented the new brand service in Lithuania and Latvia, the legal framework of this service, were discussed the independent living models, named the companion-assistant roles, skills and functions, analysed the social portrait of companion-assistant. Participants has acquainted themselves with the service users, also with the functional impairment details, specific needs, impacts of the functional impairment, specific characteristics of different functional impairment. They also have learned companion-assistant work ethics and communication principles, acquainted themselves with documents and applications of service, discussed universal design principles.

The training accomplished and the certificates were awarded to thirty companion-assistants, which will soon start provide the service, which will be paid from the project LLIV-322 My Social Responsibility funds. 


Please acquaint Yourself with this document: EN THE SOCIAL SERVICE OF A COMPANION-ASSISTANT (The assessment of current experience) 

Please acquaint Yourself with this document: LV ASISTENTA-PAVADOŅA SOCIĀLIE PAKALPOJUMI (Esošās pieredzes novērtējums)

Please acquaint Yourself with this document: Special requirements for companion-assistant trainings

Please acquaint Yourself with this document: Training program COMPANION-ASSISTANT SERVICE FOR DISABLED PERSONS (Agenda)

18th December 2012 - The Fifth Work group meeting

On the 18th in Liepaja I. Kalniņa (Project manager, Kurzeme Planning region) opened the fifth work group meeting and suggested to start the work of WG5 according planned agenda. The partners discussed the first reporting period and report preparing process, three cooperation questions. Was explained use of document ‘Detailed project description’. After that the social programme coordinator R. Žemaitė in cooperation with all PP started the discussions on Companion-assistant service concept (WP2 ACT3.3.).

Other discussed question in meeting was ‘Planning of Society campaign in municipalities (WP4 ACT5)’. Was asked to send in information about necessary properties for event organizing in each municipality as soon as possible and reminds it is important to be able to organize purchase. Partners shared the ideas for the possible adaption works, places, discussed the date to choose for the event and decided to find out opinion of other project partner. An the last discussed question of the fifth work gourp meeting was Detailed information on implementation of project (information updating about WP2 (ACT1, ACT2, ACT4.1.), WP3 (ACT1 and ACT 1(part), ACT2), WP4 (ACT2, ACT6), responsible Partner, things done, risks, needs). 


10th December, 2012 – Study visit in Salantai dienos veiklos centras
To continue implementation of the Latvia-Lithuania Cross Border Cooperation Programme project LLIV-322 "My Social Responsibility" activities, project coordinator Regina Žemaitė and the expert Laura Pociūtė visited the Salantai dienos veiklos centras, which provides the short time stay service for persons with mental disabilities. 
The head of the centre Rūta Kniūkštaitė in details presented the new service (started just on the 1st of October, 2012) – short time stay service for adults with mental disabilities. The service isn’t for free, 80 % for the service pays the client and other money comes from the Kreginga’s municipal budget. At the Salantai centre the service can be provided from seven days to six months. Unfortunately, for people under eighteen, the short time stay service for now isn’t available.
R. Kniukštaitė spoke of the need, benefits and vision of this service, also represented a variety of financial and bureaucratic nuances and shortly described the small-town community’s opinion about this service the newly renovated building and also she organized an exciting tour of the center: from toilets, wash basins, kitchen, exercise rooms and client’s rooms.
10 October 2012 Focus group: short time stay service for people with mental disabilities
On the World Mental Health Day, VšĮ Edukaciai projektai together with the Latvian partners from Dundaga (Dundagas nuovada dome) in the castle of the town organized the focus group with the topic ‘Short time stay services for disabled persons experience in Latvia’.
Māris Grāvis from the organisation ‘Rūpju bērns’ (Riga) was the moderator for this discussion. Hi shared the good experience of the organisation: told how is important the service is, described the format of the service, highlighted the risks and challenges, shortly presented the visions of service, hi raised and answered the questions about the implementation to the participants of the LLIV-322 project „My Social Responsibility“ partners.
The participants of this focus group visited the Dundaga’s town organization ‘Stacija’ (Dundagas aprūpes nams ‘Stacija’) which provides the' short time stay service for the disabled and aged persons. 
This meeting and exchange of information, good experience and ideas is very important  and useful step in the implementation of project activities: the creation of the Short time stay services for disabled persons concept in Latvia and Lithuania.

18th September 2012 - Invitation

Dear Madam/Sir,

On behalf of the NGO ‘EDUCATIONAL PROJECTS’ we are pleased to invite You to the focus group discussion ‘Short time stay services for disabled persons experience in Latvia’ which will take place on October 10th at the Dundaga castle, Pils iela 14, Dundaga LV-32702, Latvia.

NGO ‘EDUCATIONAL PROJECTS’ is kindly inviting You to participate in the focus group, to share your experience and express your opinion in discussions.

Participation in the focus group is free of charge. The host will offer the coffee for all participants.

Working language is English. There will be possibility of translation to Latvian and Lithuanian, if needed.

Applying time for participation in focus group till October 5th, 2012 by link:


For more details:
Regina Žemaitė, 
Project coordinator
Tel. +370 67164404, 
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


25th July 2012 - Study visit in Liepaja

During the visit the information was collected about ‘The programme of the service of an assistant for the disabled people in Liepaja’ („Asistentu personām ar invaliditāti programas un pakalpojuma izstrāde un ieviešana Liepājā” Nr.1 DP/ /NVA/002), financed by the European social fund (ESF) which has been prepared and implemented by the office of social services at the municipality of Liepaja and the University of Liepaja (Liepājas Universitāte).

Ainars Bunka, the head of the department of social projects at the office of social services of Liepaja municipality and other workers of the office introduced the preparation and implementation of the programme, answered some questions and gave us the description of the programme in Latvian and the copy of Latvian disability law in English (see The document) as well as other documents (application form, timesheets of the service implementation activities etc) in Latvian.   

A. Bunka told us about the need, popularity and the dissemination of the programme. The programme has been disseminated in several ways: through local press, television and radio and on the internet page of the office (http://spc.liepaja.lv/). As far as the office actively collaborates with health care institutions, the service is often recommended for the client by the family doctor. The implementations of the service were concerned that before it was provided there were about 100 people interested in the service while now, when the programme is approved and being implemented, there are only 30 people who wish to receive the service.

The head of the projects department told us about the preparation of the assistants for this programme. Liepaja University, after having processed the programme, gathered the team of training specialists which prepared the programme of the course and prepared the certificates. The course consists of 70 hours (it takes 1,5 month). There were 67 candidates registered for the trainings having more or less experience in the field of social work. During the lectures they learned not only the theory: they visited various centres of care and social services. During that time, after having learned about the duties of the assistant and the specifics of job, a few candidates refused to continue the course, and now, out of 67 candidates 52 certified assistants are working from 20 to 80 hours a month according to the need and necessity. One assistant works with not more than three clients who spend 2 or 3 hours a day for each of them. At first, the service of a free assistant is provided for three months and later the need for it is reconsidered. The service is funded by the ESF (European social fund). The programme will be financed until September 2012. According to A. Bunka, the further financing of the service in Latvia is being discussed because it has been shown that it is a very important and indispensable service. If the government is financing the service it will be developed; if not - the service of a personal assistant will no more be continued because of lack of financing. However, the head of  the projects department adds that there are disabled people who can afford the service of a personal assistant. He gave an example of a disabled woman who can work only if the personal assistant helps her to get to work and back.

We asked who and how can be provided with this free service. According to the worker of the office showing the official file of a client in Latvian, they perform an accurate research in order to decide who will receive the service. The head of the projects department showed us the documents and told us how the agreement is signed between the provider of the service and the beneficiary. In the document the exact plan is given concerning the activities, timing and intensity, the timesheet of the performed work by the assistant is filled in by both the client and the assistant.

When a client receives a recommendation from his doctor or after having received the information about the service, he comes to the office and fills in the application form where he indicates his personal details, his recent occupation and the reason for applying. The sertificate of disability of the 1st or the 2nd group is usually considered to be a sufficient reason. However, while considering if a free service should be provided, the kind of disability is very important: the free service is only provided to people with severe physical and mental disabilities, the deaf and the blind etc. People of the 1st or the 2nd group disability because of unhealthy heart cannot receive a free service. At the moment in Liepaja the free service of an assistant is provided to people with Down‘s syndrome in a wheelchair. A. Bunka gave us a concrete example when the assistant accompanies a man with no arms to the bank. He fills in the documents for him and the man signs the papers using his mouth.

Ainars Bunka told us only about the positive sides of the project. According to him, the negative aspects include the unwillingness to communicate and collaborate of the disabled people or their relatives and their unwillingness to admit that they need help. A. Bunka hopes that Latvia will receive the financing and the service of a personal assistant will be available to everybody. He also offered his help to VšĮ EDUKACINIAI PROJEKTAI and wished us good luck during the implementation of the idea in LLIV – 322 project “My social responsibility“.


28th June 2012 - Focus group: “ Companion assistent services provision and experience in Lithuania“

Target group: People or experts who are working with functionaly disabled people (people, who are not able to travel from point A to point B by themselves), for example: governmental, non-governmental or private organizations workers, experts, managers, organizators of the activities, legalisations representators or other relevant experts.

Number of participants: 5-7 people

Duration: 2-3 hours

Implementation date: 2012 06 28

Implementation location: Socialinių inovacijų centras

Questions for focus group:

1.  What kind of institutions and people (education, status and etc.) are providing disabled people accompaniment services in Lithuania?

2.  Who else, except these organizations and people, are allowed to provide these services? Requirements for these people/organizations.

3.  What functions are included into accompaniment services?

4.  How wide is the network of these services? There is the lack of it? Are these services developed enough?

5.  What kind of accompaniment services are moslty requested by the clients? What rarely?

6.  What kind of additional accompaniment services are requested by the clients?

7.  What is the procedures of the payment of these services? Is it free or not? In which cases it would be free of charge?

8.  What kind of legalisations barriers appears while providing these services? What barriers appears for those people who would like to provide such a services?

9.  What kind of physical environment barriers appears while providing such a services? For those, who would like to provide?

10.  What important achievements are implemented while overcoming mentioned barriers?

11.  Describe the vision of the accompaniment services provision in Lithuania.