On 24th January 2014, MEP Zofija Mazej Kukovič and her team Kickstart Europe (Požen? Evropo), visited VDC Ježek in Velenje. We cannot describe the joy and excitement that greeted us there, especially in the light of the effort, energy and creativity that those employed there invest into making sure their wards can pass the afternoon in a stimulating and creative environment.
The wards at VDC Ježek welcomed us with a song and afterwards, we were led to several workstations where their creativity and imagination can be transformed into physical form. They can make clay pottery, candles, as well products made from wood, such as jewellery, dominos, math games, etc. The latter?s use of renewable resources especially excited Zofija Mazej Kukovič and us. The items they made were also meant for the local municipality and several different schools, much to the joy of the director, who was glad that they could always count on the local community for support.
VDC Ježek also has a fully equipped wood workshop, where carpenters help the wards to learn and perfect their motor skills. Ladies will especially be interested in the wonderful wooden jewellery, made for the first time this year. It is made from walnut, plum and oak trees, with the final products so special and unique, that it can easily be worn even by the most elegant amongst you.
The wards explained what they do at each of the workstations. They told us that they are always happy when someone visits them, even more so when they can show what they are able to do. The director emphasized that every euro they make from the sale of products is used for the benefit of the wards, so that, a couple of times per year, they can afford a group excursion, a visit to the theatre or the movies.
Mazej Kukovič, who in the European Parliament is working towards increasing the quality of life for individuals with special needs, said that ?While inside the European Union the need for creative environments in centres such is always spoken of, you have already realised it. I will be glad to show your work to everyone in Brussels?. During this visit, she decided to surprise them with a gift to the cinema in Celje, where they watched ?Gremo mi po svoje 2?. We also made it clear that we will always remember their products, regardless of the occasion.
Today?s visit made our day, since it enabled us to see the amount of freedom given to the wards to develop their skills. Mazej Kukovič further emphasised that they are a unique example of entrepreneurship. In the photoalbum down below, we present the highlights of our visit and all the items made by the wards with the help of their mentors at the VDC Ježek in Velenje.
Maybe you can find something for yourself!
Your Kickstart Europe team