Anxiety to meet the Secretary of State mixed with the fear of losing "candy"

Ana Sofia Antunes, Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities, visited in recent days several institutions supporting the disabled population in the Algarve

Susana greeting Ana Sofia Antunes – Photo: Rúben Bento | Sul Informação


Carina Kaupe "anxiously" awaits the moment to meet Ana Sofia Antunes, Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities, on a visit to the Portuguese Association of Cerebral Palsy (APPC) de Faro. He wants to tell you how having a personal assistant “changed my life in many ways”, a “sweet candy” that might be close to being taken from him.

In Tavira, Dona Susana, quite curious and without a word of mouth, makes a point of, sitting in a wheelchair, closely following the visit of the responsible to the premises of the Irene Rolo Foundation, one of the several visits that took place in the last days to institutions in the Algarve.

Preparations are being finalized at the APPC of Faro to receive the ruler. Some of the young people supported by the Support Center for Independent Living (CAVI), a pilot project that emerged in February 2019 and which already has 900 beneficiaries in 35 centers from north to south of the country, of which it is part of, begin to arrive. that of the Algarve capital.

CAVI is "an independent living support structure" with the aim of "promoting personal assistance to people with disabilities or disabilities who, due to their limitations, cannot do things by themselves", begins by explaining Andreia Félix, director technique.

Em Faro, the center “has 20 beneficiaries of this support, most of which have neuromusculoskeletal disorders. There are other users with limitations in terms of cognitive and motor functions».

The personal assistant, chosen by each beneficiary, is "a specialized service", a professional who, in a way, "will meet the person's needs", adds the technical director.


Socializing at APPC Faro - Photograph: Rúben Bento | Sul Informação


Carina Kaupe is one of the beneficiaries of this support, having joined the project in May 2019. She is "anxiously" waiting for the arrival of Ana Sofia Antunes, as "it was important for her to come and meet the Secretary of State", reveals to journalists Isabel Van Der Kelen, the young woman's personal assistant.

Already graduated in Psychology when joining the project, Carina Kaupe tells how “this changed my life in many ways and brought me many good things: more autonomy, freedom, independence and the opportunity to study [Masters] in a more accompanied and unencumbered, freeing my parents a little».

In addition to being able to continue with my studies, the young woman emphasizes that «this project also gave me the opportunity to develop leisure activities» which I did not do in the past because «my parents always worked and never had time to do what I wanted».


Carina Kaupe and her personal assistant Isabel Van Der Kelen – Photo: Rúben Bento | Sul Informação


For Carina, the issue that causes her greatest anxiety is knowing that there are only a few months to go before the deadline for this project. Being about to enter the world of work, this fact is still a major concern.

“I talk to Isabel about this issue and I say many times that this is as if they had given a candy to a child and now it was suddenly taken away”, he exclaims.

The possible end of this project is also a concern for Isabel Van Der Kelen, Carina's personal assistant: “one of the challenges is to deal with the beneficiary's anxiety when he knows that the support may end”. But Isabel does not lose hope and says that "there has to be a solution, a social response."

For Isabel, being a personal assistant “is very rewarding”. “It's not just the money part and working to meet schedule. It's making a difference and feeling that the person benefits», he assures.

“When Carina got her master's degree and managed to complete that phase, I felt proud because I managed to make a difference,” he recalls.

On a personal level, this “job” “satisfies me, as I am helping to improve the life of another person who is completely capable, but is only limited and cannot complete certain activities that would give him pleasure and that would make him live fully », emphasizes Isabel Van Der Kelen.


Graciete Campos and Ana Sofia Antunes – Photo: Rúben Bento | Sul Informação


On the sidelines of the APPC visit in Faro, which took place on the afternoon of Thursday, October 7, Ana Sofia Antunes, Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities, assured journalists that the Government "has extended these projects for six months" as is the case with CAVI, ie beyond January 2022, in order to "guarantee the transition with ease to the new Community framework".

Thus, the institutions "were able to apply for more funds to ensure this period" and can now formalize applications to obtain "more money to continue the project which, for the time being, will still be a pilot".

“Our goal is that all people who want to, who understand that this is the most appropriate response to their situation, can use this support. We are reaching 900 people but we know that we are not reaching all of them», stresses the Secretary of State.

By the end of the current Government mandate, in 2023, Ana Sofia Antunes hopes to have “a definitive model, legislated and approved”, transforming this pilot project “into a permanent Social Security response”.

The Support Center for Independent Living (CAVI) is also a challenge coveted by the Irene Rolo Foundation, in Tavira, an institution that also received, this Friday morning, October 8, the visit of the Secretary of State.

Making a point of talking to everyone, the visit to the facilities was closely followed by Dona Susana, one of the users of this space who wanted to meet the Secretary of State, greet her and watch everything sitting in her wheelchair, assisted by employees.


Visit to the facilities of the Irene Rolo Foundation, in Tavira – Photo: Rúben Bento | Sul Informação


The mission of the Irene Rolo Foundation is “to support the population with disabilities and other vulnerable publics in the field of prevention, rehabilitation and care in the city of Tavira”, begins by saying Carla Pires, director of services, in statements to Sul Informação.

With six areas for people with disabilities, the institution welcomes the government's visit, since "it is important for the central power to reach the base, to what the IPSS works are" and see "what are our difficulties, how we develop our work and what are our real needs».

For each room visited during the visit, those who are in activities greet the Secretary of State with a smile on their face. Whether they are with brushes and paints in their hands, printing articles, or making rugs and sculptures, the users of the Irene Rolo Foundation stop their work to show the government official their most recent work.

With the pandemic, the institution's difficulties are mainly related to the financial situation, which “is something that worries us, but we are trying to overcome and manage it. It's something complicating, as there were financings that didn't come at the opportune time, which brought us some problems in terms of treasury».

As for the future, the technical director of IPSS Tavira emphasizes that "we have to carry out what is our mission, be attentive to the community, to the needs, trying to respond within what is possible, always."

Secretary of State Ana Sofia Antunes also visited other institutions in the Algarve during these two days, such as AAPACDM – Algarve Association of Parents and Friends of Mentally Diminished Children, in Faro, and NECI – Specialized Nucleus for Citizens Included, in Lagos.


Photos: Rúben Bento | Sul Informação