On 29 November non-governmental organizations that protect the interests of people with disabilities and their right to live a full life were celebrated and awarded during a ceremony in the National Library of Latvia. For three years in a row the ombudsman in cooperation with the National Library of Latvia and the Organization of People with Disabilities and their Friends “Apeirons” have been organizing a competition “Annual Award for NGOs to Support People with Disabilities”. The aim of the competition is to discover and notice the good and valuable work of non-governmental organizations that represent the interests of people with disabilities.
This year 57 applications were received for the competition in six nominations – “The Loudest Voice”, “The Promoter of Employment”, “The Provider of Services”, “The Developer of Education”, “The Social Campaign”, “The Protector of Children with Disabilities”, 55 of which were handed over to the jury for evaluation. The jury were ombudsman Juris Jansons, deputy director of the National Library of Latvia Anda Lamaša, president of the Executive Board of the Organization of People with Disabilities and their Friends “Apeirons” Ivars Balodis, chairperson of the Social and Employment Matters Committee of the Latvian Parliament Aija Barča, representative of the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments Ilze Rudzīte, “Latvijas Radio” journalist Aidis Tomsons and opera singer Evita Zālīte.
It is important that the services available to people with disabilities are varied and provided in regions too. The competition jury decided that the main award in the nomination “The Provider of Services” should go to the society “Cerību spārni” (The Wings of Hope), which provides social services to adults and children with functional disabilities. The society also includes the sports club “Spārni” (The Wings), social enterprise “Pogotava”, social support centre “Cerību māja” (The House of Hope) and family assistance services. A Recognition Certificate was presented to the society “Autism Support Centre in Rēzekne” for various educational and developmental classes for children.