Fundación Reina Sofia
managed by L. Rodriguez
Fundación Reina Sofia, founded in 2007, is a non-profit educational institution for people with special needs, recognized for its excellent work by the mayor of Ibague. The foundation seeks the rehabilitation of people with special needs and the training of health workers, teachers, parents and others. Currently, Fundación Reina Sofia is the only foundation in the whole Ibague that provides not only education and various other therapies to people with special needs, but also provides them with job opportunities via the alliance with Best Buddies Colombia. In addition, our collaboration with AIESEC, the world’s largest student organization, allows us to work with student volunteers from various countries.At the moment we provide support to 81 students with special educational needs by a team of 6 classroom teachers, 1 special education therapist, 1 psychologist, 1 phonologist, 1 music therapist, 1 paint teacher, 1 dance therapist. This means that we have 13,5 students per one teacher, which is twice as much as the recommended and ideal ratio of students and teachers.The disabilities of the students in the foundation are various:Down Syndrom, Autism, mental disability, Asperger Syndrom, Cornelia-de-lange syndrom, sotos syndrom, X fragile syndrom, Dandy walker syndrom, Dysmorphic Syndrom, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, brain paralysis. The students originate from disadvantaged backgrounds and receive insufficient support from the government to fully integrate themselves into society. Additionally, we receive students who are victims of the guerilla wars and have been displaced from their original homes.But all of them have capacities which could improve their life quality and help their families and our society. The foundation provides these students with further treatment and extra psychological support in order to overcome the traumas they have experienced in their lives. It is our goal to ensure that these members of the community receive the same opportunities as others.Furthermore, we aim to ensure that our students gain leadership skills, self esteem and both social and economic independence so that they can live comfortably in today’s society. For example, our partnership with Best Buddies highlights this aim. We currently have two students, Felipe and Leonardo, working at Home Centre in the afternoon with the condition that they continue to attend the foundation in the morning to receive therapy and education. We hope that in the future we can increase these opportunities in order to allow more adults with special needs to be financially independent from their families and support them as well. This would simultaneously reduce the level of unemployment within the mentally disabled population.We believe that besides educating the mentally disabled people, it is equally important to provide support to families by providing them with counselling and workshops. Many parents are not fully equipped to deal with mentally disabled kids and therefore may not know exactly how to treat their children. We aim to share knowledge with the parents in order for them to provide suitable living conditions for their children and improve their quality of life.
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