Invedin has spent almost 50 years providing opportunities to children with disabilities in the country

Every year Invedin serves more than 3,000 children with some condition or disability. The institution has been reinventing its fund collection and self-management mechanisms to continue supporting families who need it most

Text: Carolina Mayor

29 years ago, when Yadibel Valdés was almost 3 years old, she had a seizure in the nursery she attended; her teachers noticed that something was happening. Distraught, her mother, Yadira Burque, began looking for help alternatives in the telephone directory until she arrived at the Venezuelan Institute for the Integral Development of Children (Invedin), a place that became a new home for both of them.

Yadibel remembers that she did not speak, did not walk well, and did not read or write. At Invedin she was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis and she received multiple therapies to the point of achieving remarkable independence.

“I feel like family. There are parents who have no way to support their child with any type of condition, not just like mine. I tell them not to be afraid to come because they will be supported,” she tells VOA as she deftly and confidently performs various tasks at the Invedin Chocolate Laboratory.

Burque remembers that the prognosis was not good, but they came out ahead and she feels satisfied with the progress. If she doesn’t tell, she assures her, no one notices that her daughter has a “condition.”

“Everything changed when I arrived at Invedin. The important thing is to have the support and be consistent with the therapies, the indications, follow all the steps. Invedin gave me so much support that now I am here making confectionery with the boys”, she recounts trying to hold back her tears.

Invedin, which is about to turn 50, provides comprehensive assistance to children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, ranging from speech therapy, attention deficit disorder, to autism spectrum disorders and down syndrome. They have all the specialists, from neuropediatricians to therapists.

Invedin has two offices in Caracas; the Center for Evaluation and Treatment and the Center for Special Education, which offers comprehensive education to children and young people between the ages of 3 and 25.

But, in addition, it has the Center for Research and Postgraduate Studies of Invedin (CIEPI), which is dedicated to organizing training activities and consultancies in the area of ​​health and education for professionals or organizations in alliance with the Monteavila University and the University Andrés Bello Catholic (UCAB).

*Read also: 77% of children with disabilities could not continue their studies after the covid-19 pandemic

Patricia Guevara, president of Invedin, explains that part of the institution’s objectives is to insert children in regular school, with therapies, depending on the disorder or disability.

In cases of more severe disabilities, he adds, they focus on inserting them into the job market and, with some assistance and tools provided by their teachers and family members, help them become self-sufficient.

“It is a very comforting job because they arrive with a certain disability, the parents with a lot of concern, looking for the best, that they reach their maximum potential, knowing that this human being can give much more, but that is achieved with teamwork of professionals. , of the child who is the first to put in the effort and has that fighting power that the great results surprise you”, he explains.

Guevara details that in Invedin they have programs for low-income people, including “White Hearts”, a scholarship program in which, through donations, the costs of child care are covered and also a community assistance program, in which Invedin specialists move to a center to give therapies.

Sweets with purpose in Invedin

The Invedin Chocolate Laboratory (Invedin Sweets) is a project of self-management of funds, but in addition to education and job placement. There, the students, accompanied by specialists, carry out various activities and participate in the process of making chocolates, cookies and gummies.

“It is a combined effort where the parents of the institution that run the project are involved, together with the students, to generate self-sustaining resources. When you buy the gummies, the chocolates, you are contributing to maintain the operation of the institution”, affirms Guevara.

Consulted by VOA, Guevara admits that, in recent years, the country context had an impact on them in the area of ​​donation growth, which led them to reinvent themselves with self-management projects to raise funds. However, she assures, with a positive tone, that “always” you can find someone willing to help and “great alliances”.

*Read also: Consorven: Women with disabilities must continue fighting for equality in society

Yadira Burque, Yadibel’s mother, went from being another representative of the institution to becoming coordinator of the Invedin Chocolate Laboratory. She attends every day with enthusiasm, fills orders for orders and says that every time the students enter the food processing center, “a party” starts.

“Some unmold gummies, others pack, others wash. You put them to make the gummies, the process of pouring the liquid into the molds, they do it with skill. It works as therapy for them, for me too. We are a family, Invedin is a big family ”, she assures as she directs several young people in the process and amid pleasant smells of chewing gum, grape and strawberry, some of the flavors of the gummies.

The laboratory began in 2014 and has become one of the most notable projects of the institution that, for 48 years, has carried out well-known bazaars aimed at raising funds that they consider their “financial column.”

“I feel satisfied with what I do. I think I have done it well, with care, with love, for the benefit of my daughter and the other boys”, says Burque during his work, which he briefly interrupts to give details about the methodical process of making the colorful gummies.

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