Varuh ДЌlovekovih pravic

Ombudsman congratulates those deserving upon the 70th anniversary of ZUDV Dornava

Varuh Peter Svetina nagovoril udeležence dogodka Varuh Peter Svetina nagovoril udeležence dogodka ob 70-letnici ZUDV Dornava

Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina addressed the participants of the celebratory event upon the 70th anniversary of the Institute for Education, Work and Care dr. Marijan Borštnar Dornava, of which he is honorary patron. 

He remembered that as a student of special education at the Hrastovec social care institute he encountered the smell of bleach, which was typical of many buildings in which people with mental health problems and other disabilities were placed at the time. “That was the smell of the need for sterility, the cleaning of everything not pleasant to the senses in society. That was also – once – the smell of estrangement and abandonment, social exclusion, or third ratedness, which the smell of humanity and care for a fellow person tried to drown out,” he described.

He reminded the participants about the spatial constraints that dogged them for many years in Dornava Castle, where Dom za duševno defektno mladino opened its doors in 1953, and highlighted the challenges faced by all those who have been ensuring a decent life for those for whom ZUDV Dornava is home or a place where they can find support and feel safe and seen.

He emphasised the urgency of deinstitutionalisation which enables the tenants “to have control over their own lives, which is patronisingly denied to them by many” and described ZUDV Dornava as an example of best practice in establishing new living units and developing living groups or life in integrated apartments. “As a firm advocate of deinstitutionalisation I understand that total abolition of institutions is impossible since for some people institutional care is still the best solution. However, the sole transfer of life into living groups is one of the steps to making the picture more home-like and dispersing the smell of bleach,” he added.

He praised the management who do not fear challenges and who, along with all the unknowns brought about by new projects, bravely established the first secure ward for children and adolescents with the severest forms of mental health problems, the need for which the Ombudsman has brought attention to for many years. The Ombudsman sincerely congratulated all those who for many years have worked to provide not only a decent life for many in Dornava but also revealed stigmas and “abolished the smells of sterility and unwantedness from the social reality and beliefs”. He expressed his hope that in the future, their paths will present as few challenges as possible and “that the odours of the past will forever disappear in the efforts for an inclusive society”.