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Upon the 20th anniversary of the Korak Center the Ombudsman expresses praise for their expert work

On 27 November 2023, upon the 20th anniversary of the Korak Center, the Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina was the honorary speaker at an event at the Brdo pri Kranju Congress Centre. Ombudsman Svetina emphasised the immense importance of work done in the Center, which he says gives life back to people with an acquired brain injury and their relatives. “The feeling that you are not alone and that somewhere near there are people who know and have the will, desire, and knowledge to put your life, which has been shattered to pieces, back into a whole, to enable the greatest possible independence, who know how to ease distress and give back hope is of immense importance at such moments,” said Ombudsman Svetina.

He especially emphasised the timeliness which is essential for persons with an acquired brain injury to even start counting on progress. Therefore, there must be enough people dealing with this problem and enough other sources which enable it, he believes. The needs for rehabilitation after a brain injury are currently greater than there are places in the total of three centres in Slovenia. People with an acquired brain injury have a smaller chance of a positive outcome if they stay at home, since they mostly do not receive therapeutic treatment, while other problems that were not noticeable in hospital are also possible. “This is also why I as the Ombudsman also pressured those responsible with recommendations to establish a network of regional centres for people with an acquired brain injury across the country as soon as possible. Timeliness, accessibility, and continuity of treatment are truly extremely important if we want individuals to get back on their feet and live a dignified life worthy of a human being,” he added.

The Ombudsman also warned that rehabilitation is a lifelong process demanding discipline, commitment, and persistence and that regression can be quick if conditions are inappropriate. This is also why it is important that solid financial foundations enable constant and uninterrupted work, while the state has to make sure fluctuations do not happen, believes the Ombudsman.

For people with an acquired brain injury to live with dignity the Korak Center established the social enterprise of Zaposlitveni center Korak. “People who have suffered a brain injury have their identities (often) established anew, where work is very crucial in this process, what one can and knows how to do. By being able to and knowing how (again), I have my life in my own hands again. And this is what the Korak Center contributes to,” said Ombudsman Svetina in his speech. He also highlighted the importance of the day centre which enables people with an acquired brain injury to enjoy different forms of socialising and group services, since a social network has a beneficial effect for everyone.

The Ombudsman expressed a deep acknowledgement to the Director of the Korak Center Mateja Korošec, who has devoted her life to serving others. He wished her, her husband who supports her with understanding in all her endeavours, all experts, and volunteers all the best upon their anniversary and “much success in defying the destinies of people with an acquired brain injury”.