Who is Vardan?
Vardan Tadevosyan is the Director of The Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre in Nagorno-Karabakh and one of HART's trusted local partners. Following the Nagorno-Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Vardan realised the need for disability treatment to support injured civilians and service-men. 20 years ago, he moved to Nagorno-Karabakh to establish the first disability rehabilitation centre in the whole South Caucasus region after becoming a rehabilitation therapy educator.
The Centre now treats over 1,500 people living with disabilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, and he has personally trained 60 specialist staff members who provide high-quality care to their patients. The repertoire of treatments and therapies at the Centre range from hydro-, physio- and occupational therapy to art and sport workshops, as well as a kindergarten and an autism day-centre.
Vardan's ethos of people living with disabilities participating in society is sadly not the norm in this post-soviet region, however this is slowly changing thanks to him.
What van? Not just any van...
On the top of Vardan's priority list is a specially adapted van for wheelchair users which will enable him to transport patients securely and conveniently during the numerous and varied day-trips.
The progressive Centre champions the participation of disabled people in society and helps them to build confidence in public spaces. The staff take patients around Stepanakert, the capital where the Centre is located, as well as on summer and winter camps to Armenia, and to sporting events such as Boccia.
There are very few opportunities for disabled people, especially those with severe diagnoses, to be taken on such trips as families do not have the financial means or practical equipment. Even getting patients to the Centre for treatment can be a struggle as families have to pay for taxis big enough to fit wheelchairs.
Vardan has sourced a second-hand vehicle which will cost £31,000 (35,000 euros). This vehicle has space for 2 wheelchairs and 8-10 other persons.
As a Rehabilitation Centre we need a professional van with wheelchair access as we are transporting many children and adults with disabilities every day. Our current van is not specially adapted for wheelchair users. The van will have a special elevator to safely lift the wheelchairs into the van and will have the equipment to fix the wheelchair securely to the floor. With the van we can be sure that the transportation will be much safer, we can reach more patients and take them to do more social activities.
Tigran Verdyan is a 21-year-old patient with cerebal palsy which prevents him from walking. His mother told HART:
Tigrans transportation is completely dependent on vehicles which are often not safe and limit his opportunities to go out. This prevents Tigran from adapting to new social environments and negatively affects the quality of the treatment as he cant always reach the centre.
This video demonstrates the fantastic work undertaken at the Centre because of Vardan's leadership and foresight. We'd like to help him secure this van and enhance the lives of his patients even more than he already does. Will you help us?