Just as November brought his golden comfortable blanket, so we did create our support space for parents of children with disabilities and special needs. The support groups are part of the project Peer School for Children and Youth Mental Health and it will last until May, where we hope we will reach our goal to strengthen the personal capacities of the parents.

Having the support and understanding of other parents who have walked in the same shoes can provide the safe space of belonging and social connection that has been seek a long time ago. Nobody truly knows how they feel than a parent who has been walking the same paths, or parent that is walking alongside. Here we come, to be the creators of the space they needed, the place where they can share those stories and experiences, to be the guide for others, to be the followers of the paths created.

Even though some of the parents has been attended in other support groups, they shared that mostly the focus was on their children and families, unlike here, the focus was on them and their wellbeing. Having the hardest challenges in life, it was difficult for them to separate from certain roles, and just be the human being, but still here we are at the very beginning of the journey where we are eager to continue to listen to them, to encourage them. Still here they are, so happy to be part of the group, to discuss the hidden personal treasures and listen to the others.

Even though 2 hours can be too much of their time (as they said when they first entered) at the end it turned out it was so little that the time was extended.

At the end we conclude that in the next workshops we will continue to work on their affinities and how they can use them in future for their own benefits.

The project “Peer School for Mental Health of Children and Youth” of the Youth Association YMCA Bitola is implemented within the framework of the Regional Program on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans, which is financed by the Delegation of the European Union, Skopje, and implemented by UNDP MK. The project is co-financed by the Municipality of Bitola. The project is implemented by YMCA.mk in cooperation with PORAKA NOVA and Center for Human Rights AMOS.

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