Integrated Social Inclusion Services for children and youth with disabilities in Shijak Municipality

Integrated Social Inclusion Services for children and youth with disabilities in Shijak Municipality


Project Value 318,441.00 €
Project Status Ongoing
Implementing Partners

Shijak municipality as lead partner in cooperation with Help the Life
Association, Down Syndrome Albania Foundation as implementing


Direct: children and youths with disability, their families, service center staff, educators, teachers, health professionals. Indirect: public local service providers – colleagues of those trained by the project, community members, municipal social service staff

EU Contribution
286,597.00 €
Project Timeline

Overall Objective

Overall objective:

To contribute to social inclusion and improved quality of life for
children and youths with disabilities and their families in the
municipality of Shijak, Albania.


Summary of the Project

This project aims to promote the access to services of vulnerable and marginalized people in the Municipality of Shijak which will be reached through developing an integrated model of care services (early child intervention, family-based care, inclusive education, and social inclusion opportunities through increased access to quality community-based services) for children and youths with a disability, as well as coordinating the resources for children and youths with disability in the local level. It will contribute towards social inclusion and improved quality of life for children and youth with disabilities and their families. It brings an added value that is the creation of an innovative and more inclusive model of service for the Municipality of Shijak. The action envisages redesigning the existing structure of services offered by the community-based center of Shijak municipality, by extending the range of services and will provide extended technical assistance for the high-quality delivery of activities with children and youths with disability and their parents, additional support materials needed to carry out activities, strengthen local networks to facilitate coordination between different sectors and actors, etc.  Further, the action will improve the management capacities of targetgroups through the transfer of know-how and skills from the two partner NGOs to the staff of the Shijak local administration, by providing a full package on capacity-building activities targeting the staff, and also make continuous on-the-job training for the Municipality team.
To implement this action, the municipality of Shijak has created a
partnership with “Help the Life" Association (HLA) and Down Syndrome Albania Foundation (DSA), both organizations with long experience and expertise in service provision for children and youths
with disabilities in a different program (from early childhood intervention to independent living), experience in inclusive education programs like the capacity building of educators, teachers and other stakeholders, experience in drafting manuals and guidebooks for professionals, etc.


1.1.1 Establish (expand and strengthen) the community-based service
model in the Shijak region to offer a full range of integrated services
1.1.2 Delivering services to children and youths with disabilities:
– Child development assessment by the multidisciplinary
professional team
– Developmental and behavioural therapy
– Physiotherapy and other alternative physical rehabilitation
therapies such as psychomotricity.
– Occupational therapy sessions (one to one, in groups, play
therapy, HEART, drama therapy)
– Speech and language therapy
– Psychological counselling and support for children

Social independence skill courses and independent living.
– Self-help groups (peer to peer approach)
– Home-based services: early childhood intervention services
and other types of services as per the family need for those who
cannot come to the centre.
2.1.1 Capacity building of relevant structures and staff of the existing
Community-Based Centre on identifying the needs and capacities of
children and youths with disabilities; developing individual, family,
school, and community-based programs that support the development
of children and adolescents and monitor their progress:
– 20 training sessions delivered to the staff of the community-
based Centre in Shijak.
– 10 training sessions delivered with 80-100 educators of early
education institutions (day-care centres kindergartens) on early
identification of a disability or development challenge, behaviour
management, child development interventions, etc.
– 10 training sessions delivered for assistant teachers and main
class teachers on inclusive education and support of CWD in an
inclusive setting.
– 5 training sessions delivered to primary health care
professionals on early identification of a disability, proper
communication of diagnosis, referral system and service provision,
follow up on child development based on national health protocols,
2.1.2 30 training sessions delivered to family members and caregivers
of children and youths with disabilities with a focus on how to support
their child development on early childhood intervention and
independent living at home setting and community-based.
2.1.3 Provide family counselling and psycho-education services to
improve family system well-being.
3.1.1 Establish a local network in Shijak among health, education,
social service providers, and local NGOs to strengthen their capacities
to collaborate and support children and youths with disabilities and
their family needs.
3.1.2 Design and implement community-based awareness-raising
activities and campaigns on different topics on inclusion (education,
employment, independent living, etc) through the active participation
of PwD, their caregivers, and the community.
3.1.3 Develop and publish materials to support parents in their day-to-
day activities with their children (brochures, manuals, guides)
4.1.1 Developing the Early Childhood Intervention Service Model and
Structure for Albania.

Expected Results

Outcome 1: Integrated quality community-based services for children
and youths with disabilities of Shijak municipality are ensured.
Outcome 2: The professional capacities of Shijak municipality’s
existing community-based centre staff and the other municipality
related institutions staff as well as of the family members and other
caregivers, are increased
Outcome 3: The awareness among local authority institutions and the
community of families and other caregivers to better address the needs
of PwD is increased.
Outcome 4: An Early Childhood Intervention Model for children with
disabilities is drafted and piloted in Shijak Municipality.

Project Reference Number IPA 2022/433-142