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What we are doing

Raising Awareness

Educational presentations

Many fears, biases and stereotypes about people with disabilities still exist in Ukrainian society. This is the result of the soviet past of the country.

In the USSR, there was a belief that “we have no disabled persons” existed. Parents who gave birth to a disabled child were recommended to abandon this child. During this period, many people with disabilities lived in charitable institutions or hospitals for the mentally ill, far from the eyes of other people. Parents who did not abandon their child were very often ashamed to go outside with them, due to feelings of social rejection.

For several generations, people with special needs were isolated from so called “normal” society. That is why today, when young people meet their peers with disabilities, they have no idea how to communicate with them. Very often they are lost and feel pity or fear.

To destroy these barriers and inspire people to communicate and make friends with disabled people, the Emmaus Center holds educational presentations and trainings.

During these events we talk about the specificities in communication with disabled people, their needs, gifts and special vocation. We also share our own stories about how friendship with disability has changed us.

Our target audience

includes but is not limited to school and university students and different youth organizations. The Emmaus team gives trainings for catering organisations and different state and educational institutions.

Travel map

With these educational presentations, Emmaus travels all the way from Starobilsk, Luhansk region to Mukachevo, Transcarpathia.


Our friends with special needs are always present at these events. They are an important part of the Emmaus team.

Seminars for specialists

At present, our Ukrainian society is actively implementing inclusion: the inclusion of people with disabilities into the social life. Inclusive education is one of the key components of the process. One of the most important aspects is to teach teachers to work with disabled children. Knowing that there is a lack of vital information, the Emmaus Center holds different educational seminars for teachers. The Emmaus Center also organizes trainings for medical workers and other specialists who work with disabled people.

Here are some examples of the various topics our trainings have had :

“Types of nosology and their peculiarities”

“Organization of inclusive education”

“Educational process for children with special educational needs”

“Inclusion. Cooperation between parents and specialists”.

The instructors with whom Emmaus cooperates are specialists in inclusive education with many years of experience.
Seminars for specialists are held in Lviv and other cities in Ukraine.


A child’s disability in various ways affects mothers and fathers, siblings, grandfathers and grandmothers and generally all members of the family whose life is connected with the life of the child. The future of such children depends greatly on these people. A Family is a kind of interaction chain in which all the members influence each other. It is impossible to help a child without helping his or her family.

Milton Seligman

The Emmaus Center organizes:

Weekends for mothers and fathers

We discuss how the disability of a child influences mutual relations in the family, how to accept the peculiarities of your son or daughter, the issues involved in the upbringing of a child and his/her future. You will have the possibility to share your worries and receive answers to questions that trouble you. Such a weekend is a great opportunity to introduce a change into your everyday life in order to regain strength and find inner peace.

Courses for married couples

Our goal is to help couples with a disabled child to strengthen their relationships. In groups of married couples we talk about how to handle a family crisis and how to express one’s own emotions to better understand and support each other. The meetings are held each month for half a year.

Courses for married couples

Our goal is to help couples with a disabled child to strengthen their relationships. In groups of married couples we talk about how to handle a family crisis and how to express one’s own emotions to better understand and support each other. The meetings are held each month for half a year.

Meetings for siblings

We want to help the participants to analyze their relations with their disabled brother or sister and understand the emotions (shyness, anger, feelings of guilt etc.) which are stirred up by a disability. Meetings for siblings of disabled people are organized according to different age groups: for children up to 9 years, teenagers and adults. The meetings are interactive and adjusted to the age of the participants.

Meeting for grandfathers and grandmothers

Our goal is to help grandfathers and grandmothers accept the disability of their grandchild and understand their role in his/her upbringing. At these meetings we talk about how to support children by maintaining a healthy balance between excessive care and complete detachment.

Meeting for grandfathers and grandmothers

Our goal is to help grandfathers and grandmothers accept the disability of their grandchild and understand their role in his/her upbringing. At these meetings we talk about how to support children by maintaining a healthy balance between excessive care and complete detachment.

The Psychological consulting

of people with disabilities and their relatives is a possibility to receive help in solving life issues connected with the birth of a disabled child, his/her upbringing, maturation, relationships with relatives and those around.


In 2013, the Emmaus Center launched the project of job placement for people with intellectual disabilities. This initiative is a way to solve the problem of isolation for people with special needs, to help them find themselves, earn money and be useful for the society.

Context of the project

Disabled people’s right to work is guaranteed by the law in many countries around the world as well as in Ukraine. However, for employers, such an initiative is a challenge.

The task of the Emmaus Center is to prepare people with special needs for labor market requirements, to give them the needed accompaniment, as well as to consult the employers in order to ensure a comfortable job placement for all sides involved.

Types of work

that people with disabilities can do:

help in the kitchen

making dumplings, baking bread, packing up goods

service sector

laying of the table for coffee breaks / drink receptions, tidying rooms

office work

copying, sending mail, entering data into the database

work in the trading sector

laying out the goods on the shelves, sticking labels / barcodes onto products

Implementation of the project

Within our job placement project for people with intellectual disabilities, the Emmaus Center takes into account the experience of our Polish and French colleagues.

The participants of the job placement project are adult people aged 18 – 40 years with light intellectual disability who are able to learn and take responsibility for the work done.

The involvement of people with intellectual disability into the job placement project is gradual. A social worker from Emmaus gives the candidates test tasks in order to understand their abilities and interests.

Participation in trainings and seminars helps people with special needs to develop their social and personal skills: communication and interaction abilities within a group of people, the ability to handle stressful situations and to express their emotions.

When appropriate vacancies appear, Emmaus presents them to the candidates. An important condition of the project is that in the beginning a social worker accompanies the participant at their working place.

If necessary, the Emmaus Center gives seminars to the people with whom the disabled person is going to work in order to teach them how to communicate with the disabled.

During the period of the project’s existence, the Emmaus Center has officially employed 30 people with special needs in different fields and spheres:

  • bakeries
  • cafes
  • supermarkets
  • audit companies

Throughout the world, companies which have employed people with special needs confirm that this experience has a deep social influence. Society becomes kinder and the company team more organized. People start to show more compassion and solidarity.


The Emmaus house is an apartment on the UCU campus where people with intellectual disability live together with assistants. At present, five friends live in the house: Liuda, Volodia, Ivanka, Danylo and Kateryna as well as four assistants.

The Emmaus house was opened in March 2013. It is a family-type house that is an alternative to mental institutions.. The Emmaus house is organized as a community. In this house the friends live together with their assistants. The assistants of the Emmaus house are young people who want to share their community life with people with intellectual disabilities: to share everyday life, prayer, happiness and each other’s difficulties. In this house the assistants have their own rooms to live.

Life at the Emmaus house has its own rhythm. During weekdays each friend attends a workshop or a day program. This time is for the assistants to settle all the needed everyday issues or to have some free time. Every day the community cooks dinner together and very often invites guests. At the Emmaus house every day is ended with a common prayer. The residents of the Emmaus house also spend weekends, holidays and summer vacations together: they go for walks, coffee, visit cinemas and travel together around Ukraine.

A special feature of the Emmaus house is that it is situated, named after the patriarch Josyf Slipyj, where students, university workers, guests and nuns also live. For our friends with special needs it is an opportunity for better socialization and integration into society. The residents of the Emmaus house take an active part in the campus life: common prayers, different meetings and entertainment. They also invite campus residents to their house. Through their ingenuousness, our friends with special needs teach students authentic and sincere relationships, trust and acceptance, and communication without masks, defense or armor.

The idea of inviting people with intellectual disabilities to live on campus belongs to Archbishop Borys Gudziak.

It is unique not only for Ukraine but also for Europe, America and other countries.


In Ukrainian society, people with intellectual disability are often isolated. Everyday activities such as enjoying hobbies, going out to the cinema, a concert, or for a coffee are a rarity for most of them. The Integration projects of Emmaus are an opportunity for the young people with special needs to socialize, grow, and to have a rest.

The youth club

This is a group of young people with light intellectual disability for whom the Emmaus Center seeks work. The project’s participants not only spend their time in an active and joyful way together but also find new friends.

Cultural and entertainment events for isolated friends

This project by the Emmaus Center organizes regular private meetings for disabled people who live under difficult circumstances (due to a lack of mobility and a limited communication) which help their inner recovery.

Theatre group “Laughter and tears”

In the integration theatre “Laughter and tears”, actors and volunteers are people with intellectual disability. The participants of the theatre not only develop their acting talents but also try to show spectators that each person is unique and valuable.


Sports classes for people with special needs are an opportunity to better their physical state, health and to rest in an active way. For people with disability, group classes are also a great opportunity for socialization.

UCU events

Friday coffee

Each month the Emmaus Center invites our friends to pray together in a liturgy with the UCU community.

For the disabled youth, it is a chance to deepen their spiritual life.

Drinking coffee is encouraged but not necessary.
The most important thing is to come and spend time with a sincere and joyful group of people.


Books and magazines

Софі Лютц

Поза межею видимого

Голова в неї схилена набік, рот привідкритий, надаючи їй вигляду надто невинного, щоб бути нормальним. Завжди знаходиться якесь невелике “надто”, щоб кольнути мене в серце. Ну що ж, бути нормальним – це банально. Бути ненормальним – це аномально. Бути поза нормою – таємничо. Така ось Філіппіна.

Коллінз Белва

Систематичне навчання учнів з помірними і важкими порушеннями

Ця книжка розповідає про те, як вчити. Ймовірно, якби мене просили дати іншу назву для цього видання, я запропонував би щось на кшталт «Як навчати в радість». Свідомо уникаю згадки про те, що книжку присвячено навчанню осіб із особливими потребами. З практики знаю, що ці методи є надзвичайно ефективні в навчанні, незалежно від того, чи особа має певні специфічні потреби чи ні.

Марк Даренд

Тяжкі поведінкові проблеми

Марк Даренд розкриває тему поведінкових порушень, не просто
аналізуючи особливості їх виявів, але допомагає зрозуміти, про що свідчить певна поведінка, що вона нам «промовляє», яку функцію виконує. Автор цієї книги – не лише професіонал, а й батько.

Пастирі найслабших

«Пастирі найслабших» – невелика, але надзвичайно змістовна книга, яку нещодавно видав Центр «Емаус». Це короткі історії про трьох священиків, які велику частину свого життя присвятили служінню людям з розумовою неповносправністю.

Дж. Галл

Бачити в темряві

У своїх щоденникових записах Джон Галл торкається найнесподіваніших сторін життя незрячої людини: сприйняття довколишнього світу, виховання дітей, стосунків з людьми.

Жан Ваньє

Дорога додому

Дорога додому – це роздуми філософа Жана Ваньє про те, що означає бути людиною поза межами бар’єрів, які розділяють сильних і слабких, раси і національності, багатих і бідних. У своїй праці з розумово неповносправними чоловіками і жінками він зіткнувся зі світом невимовних страждань. Проте Жан Ваньє також розгледів в цих людях надзвичайні риси.

Софі Шевіяр-Лютц

Філіппіна: Сила тендітного життя. Свідчення

Софі та Дам’єн Лютц – батьки Філіппіни, дівчинки з множинною неповносправністю. Лікарі виявили в неї несумісне з життям пошкодження мозку ще до того, як вона народилася. Софі Лютц розповідає про те, як змінилося її з чоловіком життя, коли вони прийняли слабкість та беззахисність своєї дочки і як вони поступово ставали людянішими; про те, як “скандал” неповносправності може стати джерелом життя.

Шерон М. Дрейпер

За межею

Мелоді – 11-річна дівчинка з особливими потребами: вона немов ув’язнена у власному тілі. У неї церебральний параліч. Може «розмовляти» лише за допомогою комп’ютера. У Мелоді чудова пам’ять, вона все схоплює на льоту – отакий собі вундеркінд! Сокровенна мрія героїні цієї книжки – щоб її почули й зрозуміли.

Жан Ваньє


Якщо наше суспільство перебуває у постійній кризі, якщо в ньому стільки насильства і страху – чи це не тому, що ми вже неспроможні розуміти, що означає бути людьми? Ми схильні думати, що бути людиною – це нагромаджувати знання, владу, силу, багатство, домагатися суспільного визнання. Ми забули про людське серце. 

For the implementation of our mission

and projects we need your financial support.

Independently of the amount of your donation your contribution is valuable and important for us.

You can donate at the address:

Center Emaus
Ukrainian Catholic University street Hilarion Swiecitsky 17, Lviv, 79011 UKRAINE,
tel. +38 (032) 240-99-40 (# 3107)

Make a donation online