Drahoslava (Dája) Kabátová graduated from Charles University in Prague with a degree in Special Education. Until 1994, she spent 10 years working as a nurse at the Jedlicka Institute in Prague, managing a crafts workshop. Dája is an Ashoka Fellow, and has served on several evaluation boards for social projects sponsored by the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. She has also developed many projects with grants from the Czech government and the European Union.
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- Letohrádek Vendula
- Non-profit Social Enterprise
- Workforce and Employment; Mental Health
- Czech Republic
- Areas of Impact
- Eurasia, Czech Republic
Letohrádek Vendula is a non-governmental, not-for profit organization, which operates a crisis centre providing care, accommodation and workshop employment to individuals with severe handicaps. Its crafts manufacturing workshop employs people with mental, physical or combined handicaps, who engage in traditional craftwork such as weaving, candle making and handmade paper production. The products are then sold through a wide network of merchants, including Baumax home improvement stores.
Other services provided by Letohrádek Vendula include a daily and weekly assisted living facility, legal consulting services and a crisis centre offering accommodation and physiotherapy. The crisis centre provides temporary accommodations, consultation and personal assistance to handicapped people in need, particularly in the event of their primary caregiver’s death. Letohrádek Vendula accepts all people regardless of their diagnosis, which represents an entirely different approach from state-run institutions that sort people according to their disabilities. It also provides training for government professionals in an effort to change the state institutional approach from simply passive caretaking of people with disabilities, to the active participation by those needy individuals.
Letohrádek Vendula represents a unique community of people who are capable of working well together. For example, a physically healthy yet mentally handicapped person might be able to work in collaboration with another wheelchair-bound but mentally healthy individual, resulting in the cooperative production of a sellable product.