Today’s opening of the new Occupational activity centre (VDC) in BTC City Ljubljana shows fresh endeavours for equal and full integration of people with special needs into a normal workenvironment. The move of the Training, Education and Care Centre (CUVD) Dolfke Boštjančič, Draga – Unit Ljubljana to new and larger facilities in the heart of the urban centre can be seen as a fresh step in the field of employing people with special needs and as an awareness raising approach that emphasises the importance of integrating people with special needs in normal employment activities, in the community and in the environment.
Working at the centre will enable 89 adults with special needs to get to know and accept people of different generations who come to the largest business, shopping, entertainment, recreational and cultural centre, visited by 21 million people yearly.
Jože Mermal, president of the BTC Management Board emphasised:”Co-dependence in a social, cultural, sports, environmental and business sense represents a foundation of the BTC Company’s business. It was a perfectly natural step to include the Occupational activity centre Dolfke Boštjančič into the everyday environment of the large business centre and the city of shopping and fun. BTC represents a company of open dialogue. We are proud that BTC is not merely a shopping centre, but that it keeps upgrading the services according to the visitors’ needs. I am happy that in association with the Centre we are able to establish new initiatives and opportunities within BTC City and thus transfer good business practices and examples onto a wider social community.”
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year the CUVD appreciates the welcoming gesture of the BTC Company. “We are proud to become a creative part of BTC City that responds to the needs of the modern society in the manner of the most developed cities. We wish that the presence and a better understanding of the situation would encourage the employees within BTC City to offer job positions also to mentally challenged people who are still given very few employment opportunities outside the institutions where the primary activity is taking care of these people, even though the European and Slovenian guidelines prefer integration in normal working environments”, stated Valerija Bužan, PhD, director of the Centre.
Beside CUDV Director’s speech the ceremony also included speeches by Anja Kopač Mrak, PhD, Minister of labour, family, social affairs and equal opportunities, and Zoran Janković, Mayor of the City Municipality of Ljubljana, while Jože Mermal, President of the BTC Management Board, and Tone Dolič, assistant to the Head of the human rights department proudly cut the ribbon. The event was complemented by a cultural programme, and the chef Jožef Oseli, who on behalf of the “World Chefs Without Borders” presented the certificate to the Druga violina restaurant, which is active within the CUVD.
The initiative for establishing the Occupational activity centre reaches back 11 years as the centre was established in response to the special needs of adults who had finished their educational programmes and could not find an appropriate employment. As a part of the Occupational activity centre’s programme which offers work, creative activities and numerous workshops the protégés are enabled quality life to the fullest when they reach adult age. The Centre organises various educational programmes and other cultural and social activities. The work process, extending over the period of 8 hours per day and 5 days per week, provides the protégés with a sense of usefulness and responsibility, as well as the possibility of income, with the produced items making them happy, strengthening their self-esteem and self-respect and filling them with a sense of recognition.
Maja Oven, Director of the Market Communications and Public Relations Sector
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