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Personal Assistants Service in Serbia (PASS)
From February 2003 - October 2005, Center for Independent Living Serbia (CIL) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) with financial support of Development Cooperation of Ireland (DCI), implemented pilot project Personal Assistants Service in Serbia (PASS).
The aim of the project was the support to independent living and full civic participation for persons with disabilities and their organisations in Serbia, as well as introduction the new type of service in Serbia.
Objectives of the project were to:
1. Establish the first consumer controlled personal assistance service in Serbia, as a key aspect of independent living of the disabled.
2. Develop a skill base of PAS program beneficiaries fundamental to their own independent living and an enhanced individual and collective contribution to their society.
3. Support cross-disability initiatives aimed at increasing visibility of disabled people in local community and creating conditions for their social inclusion.
In August 2005, there was two and a half years of project implementation in five towns in Serbia - Beograd, Sombor, Smederevo, Jagodina and Leskovac.
As an idea and as a practical solution, this project is new and innovative in the region. Personal Assistants Service as a support to PWDs in everyday activities, functioned very well, even extremelly satisfying for 70 users and 73 personal assistants and members of their families. Researches at the end of the project showed changes in lives of users and their personal assistants. Quality of life of PAS users obviously become better within the short period of service implementation.
The first Personal Assistant's Service in Serbia achievemts are:
1. introduction new social service - the first of that type in Serbia
2. establishing and managing konsumer-controll service of personal assistants in country for 70 PWDs in five cities, as a key aspect for independent living
3. working engagement for 73 unemployed persons as personal assistants which contributed to minimisation of unemployment in Serbia
4. enormous changes in quality of lives of PWDs, personal assistant's users, including better defining their personal needs and acceptance of the role of employer and manager
5. higher visibility of PWDs in the local community and creation the conditions for their social inclusion, changes in other peoples attitudes after the recognition of users capacities and potentials
6. improvement of basic skills of PWDs, neccessary for their independent living and full civic participation, through educational activities and capacity building of users and their assistants
7. analyses of Cost effectiveness and Experience of independence documented the justification of that type of support for persons with disabilities
8. successful lobbying, advocacy and promotive activities of PASS resulted in the fact that project team ensured additional funding for taxes and contributions for personal assistant's salaries
9. provided strategic and financial support of two National Governments which ruled in Serbia in the last three years
10. the influence of PAS project on poverty reduction went on two parallel lines: on users and on their assistants, who improved their status and living conditions in two different ways.