The mission of CIWA is supporting people with intellectual disabilities to realize their right to work. In our efforts, we are striving to develop options for people so that they have an opportunity to access the labor market and achieve inclusion in this important field.
With the vision of the equal access to quality, person-centered community-based services as an important precondition to the deinstitutionalization of PWID, and to their successful inclusion and active participation in society, CIWA’s community-based supported work activities help people enter the world of work in and around Zagreb.
CIWA is a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in November 2004, in Zagreb, Croatia, as a subsidiary of the Association for Promoting Inclusion, the largest provider of community based social services in Croatia. Since 2004, CIWA has been providing supported work activities at its day/work center and on the open market. Presently in all CIWA’s programs are engaged around 70 people:
- cca 60 people are integrated into supported work activities on the open labor market (at 25 locations of 15 Croatian and multinational companies)
- cca 10 people are active in inclusive volunteering (at 5 locations of 5 NGO partners) and
- cca 20 people are active at the Work/Day center where they are engaged in textile production (include seven people active in inclusive volunteering).
The majority of people who are engaged in programs are people with intellectual disabilities who are living at home with their families and some people are beneficiaries of the services of Supported Housing provided by the Association for Promoting Inclusion.
People engaged in supported work activities have various types of work such as labeling products at the warehouses, packing products into transport boxes, work on the production line, internal distribution of goods, mail and documents, arranging products on shelves in retail outlets, cleaning the premises.
CIWA is currently focusing on strengthening relationships with current employers who are mainly large companies where not all possibility for employment have yet been explored, and increased efforts to find new employers and more flexible arrangements with good potential for natural support.
The participation in work activities has led to full-time employment outside of CIWA’s support for nine people.
People engaged in work activities within the Work/Day center manufacture a variety of textile handicrafts such as embroidery and painting of cotton bags, tablecloths, pillows and stuffed toys. CIWA developed product line in cooperation with international designers as part of the Extraordinary Design workshop on inclusive design. This workshop, organized by the School of Design, Faculty of Architecture, University of Zagreb, and the Croatian Designers Society in co-operation with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art in London. CIWA It helped develop products recognized for their quality and design. Products are being sold at stands in shopping malls, at various holidays and fairs, in several design stores and through our Croatian web shop (www.ducansasrcem.hr) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/center.for.inclusive.work.activities).
CIWA co-operating with designers from Aqua Maritime d.o.o. has developed a collection of school supplies of 15 items with applied motifs "Žiraha". It has been on market since summer 2015 in 25 stores in the Republic of Croatia and around the world (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Italy, Canada, Ukraine) promoting creative work of our people and making an income.
Inclusive volunteering program as the gateway to employment has great results in identifying opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to volunteer in a work environment and gain work skills on the job. Volunteering for the purpose of gaining work practice and potential employment has been successfully recognized as type of engagement with beneficial to some people.
Part of CIWA’s service is to empower people with intellectual disabilities to discover and express their interests, especially to express their work wishes. CIWA use different person centered planning tools to identify one’s interests, skills and ambitions. Inclusive volunteering as model of activities in the community for people with intellectual disabilities is a good first step to gain work skills.
Over the years, CIWA has consulted organizations interested in developing supported employment services. Replicating the models it has developed, CIWA supported other organizations in creating work possibilities for people with intellectual disabilities through supported employment.
CIWA employs 11 full time staff, 8 of whom are engaged in the provision of direct support in the open labor market (Job Coaches) and 3 are engaged in the Main Office.