Visits in the Dark

2,000 Euro Prize 2020

Country: Czech Republic

Region: Prague, Central Bohemian Region, Olomouc Region, Plzeň Region, Vysočina Region, Liberec Region, South Bohemia, South Moravian Region

Sector: Civil Society / Social Economy

Fields of action: Disability, Professional qualification, Care

Project owner: Spolu s vámi, z.ú.

Responsible person: Šarlota Hambergerová

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Challenge

One-fifth of the population in the Czech Republic is aged 65 or older, who rely on informal and family caregivers. The blind and visually impaired face challenges finding a job: 70-80% of this community are unemployed. Návštěvy POTMĚ (“Visits in the Dark”) connects the elderly and caregivers with a collective of the blind and visually impaired for care and social support.

Idea

The blind and visually impaired help advise the organization, as well as serve as “visitors” to seniors in their homes and care centres. The visitors assist their elderly hosts to cope with the loss of cognitive functions, including sight. The service also aides informal caregivers, such as family members.

Actors

A collective of the blind and visual impaired serve as visitors, as well as advise the organization’s social impact strategies. The visitors have diverse backgrounds and interests; they are journalists, teachers, social workers, massage therapists, and musicians. We also work closely with caregivers, senior communities, and care homes.

Impact

Within two years of the organization’s launch, Návštěvy POTMĚ is currently implemented in eight cities and over 50% of regions in the Czech Republic. We have provided jobs for the blind and visually impaired, who have a started a partner association in 2019.

Transfer

We will publish a Návštěvy POTMĚ guidebook for the public; it can serve as a model and an inspiration for other organizations. Návštěvy POTMĚ will also present at conferences for expert audiences and the public.

Appreciation of the Jury

The blind and visually impaired find it difficult to enter the primary labour market, while the elderly and their caregivers need extra support. Návštěvy POTMĚ helps all these communities; the trained visitors with visual impairments have offered this service from their own social enterprise. They relieve caregivers − mainly women − as well as nursing homes and day centres. They bring older people new perspectives and social connections: an overall innovative combination of diverse social needs and necessities.