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European Social Fund Plus

A helping hand for families of children with disabilities

A helping hand for families of children with disabilitie
© Association of people with intellectual disabilities and their families ‘Step Forward’ Daruvar

Mirela and Dario’s six-year-old, Dimitra, has a developmental disability. Apart from a lack of support services near where they live in Daruvar, Croatia, Dimitra was becoming increasingly isolated, as other children didn’t want to play with her. The situation was desperate, until they found the ‘Step Forward’ project.

Funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), the project provides children who have developmental disabilities with continual, professional, psychosocial support, and aims to achieve social inclusion for children with disabilities and their families.

Organisers run activities encouraging children with developmental disabilities and without disabilities to play together, ensuring kids like Dimitra are included. This has helped to reduce social prejudice by normalising attitudes towards disabilities among children and families with no experience of disabilities.

Thanks to the project, children like Dimitra receive regular therapy sessions to understand their own feelings and lived experiences.

So far, the project has helped more than 70 children with development disabilities to access inclusive activities and therapy.

‘Dimitra loves her appointments, as well as her therapists, and we can see the positive effects they bring to her’ said Mirela.

The project provides coaching and support to parents and guardians too, helping them navigate the challenges of parenting a child with complex needs and improve their work-life balance.

Beyond support to children and their parents, the project helps reduce social exclusion within the extended family through sessions for up to 20 relatives. The groups are a place for family members to focus on how to strengthen their relationships with the child and understand her or his needs.

Mirela and Dario share: ‘We are very satisfied with the association and its employees. The fact that it's a place we can turn to for help and guidance is indispensable to us as parents.’

Project details

Project name
Korakovci at your service - social inclusion of children with disabilities and their families in the community by providing quality social services
Udruga osoba s intelektualnim teškoćama i njihovih obitelji "Korak dalje" Daruvar (Association of people with intellectual disabilities and their families ‘Step Forward’ Daruvar)
76 children with developmental disabilities, 20 members of their families
Project start
Project end
Contact details
Renata Žukina,
Total budget
EUR 174 172
EU Budget contribution
EUR 148 046