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Members' interview: CUDV-Draga

CUDV-Draga is an umbrella organization for people with special needs. It has four basic programs: 1) training and care center for children and adolescents; 2) center for institutional care of adults; 3) center for training, care and employment under special circumstances; 4) center for people with brain injuries.
We talked with Stefa Spele, a teacher in a class that prepares youth for work in their restaurant, to know more.

Can you tell us in more detail  about the social entrepreneurship initiatives that CUDV-Draga has?  
In our center we try to raise awareness through different initiatives: concerts, workshops for children, development of different skills of our users and creating more jobs for people with special needs. Last year one of our users, Blaž, worked in a company for three months as a mailman and he enjoyed to work there, his work was respected and recognized.


One of the tasks CUDV-Draga has been working on is raising awareness about the inclusion of the persons with disabilities. What are your activities in this regard and what is the message you wish the society to get?
With our appearance on different events, medias, programs and no less in society we would like to show other people that PwD exist in our society and that they can have and must have a life outside an institution. A job, a partner, a loving environment,... Some of them need more help with adjustment, others less. That is why they have us - employees that help them, really just help. We do not do instead of them, we teach them so they can do it their selves.

Worker in Druga Violina © CUDV-Draga

You mentioned awareness-raising initiatives of CUDV-Draga. Can you tell us more about them?
Media has shown to be our friend. With the help of media we get our message out. And what is interesting is that media finds us, we do not have to ask them to come to tell our story. The majority of people gets to know us in Druga violina. There is always something going on in Druga violina. Twice a week we have free children workshops, concerts, different performances and celebrity chefs cooking hours. We are very happy to host different celebrities that come to our events. Mayor of Ljubljana is almost our regular guest. The president of Slovenia, Borut Pahor came to our working center and we baked Christmas cookies with him. Different European projects also brings us a lot of media attention.

President of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, visits CUDV-Draga © CUDV-Draga

How is your work perceived by the society (especially the work done in social enterprises)? What was the feedback of the awareness-raising you did?
The feedback from the society is very good. We have a lot of tourists that come once and then come back every day of their stay in Ljubljana. We serve traditional Slovenian food and our selection of food is very wide. Here I think it is important to say that we have a lot of regular customers that come to our restaurant on a daily basis. They come to us because they approve of our work, the quality of the service is very good and the people (workers in Druga violina) are very nice. We also have a very positive experience with the social media that we are active on- facebook.

Visit of Belgian Partners to CUDV-Draga © CUDV-Draga

What are the key success factors for successful communication of your messages related to the inclusion of PwD and the role of service providers?
We as an institution are not too intrusive and that is why people show interest in getting to know us. Especially media approach us, they are interested in what we do, who we are, how we do it, how we are different t other people. Other people get to know us through media and for many we are interesting. So they make the first step because they want to get to know us better.

CUDV Draga director, Valerija Buzan, also gave an interview to EASPD: find it here.