Antoinette Ferraro, Trustee and Treasurer of Friends of the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (UK) (Friends of BCH), wrote:
I have just returned from a visit to a cold and very snowy Minsk where I attended a splendid two-day conference entitled ‘Abilitation: helping disabled children to achieve their potential’
. Paediatric palliative physiotherapy is a new concept in Belarus and does not translate directly. It is called ‘abilitation’ there.
The conference was organised and sponsored by Friends of BCH. For the past twelve months, the charity has been running a pilot programme to introduce British-style physiotherapy to ten children of varying ages at the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (BCH) and the Republican Clinical Centre for Paediatric Palliative Care (Forest Glade) in suburban Minsk.
Two of our trustees, Chairman Daryl Ann Hardman and Project Director Deb Hunt (pictured with Pam and Sue), were the key players in bringing this conference about. The idea behind it was to spread the word to doctors, nurses and other health professionals in Belarus that, given a gentle child-centred approach and a lot of patience, children with disabilities can achieve their best in every direction, thus improving quality of life for them and for their families too.