Vardan Tadevosyan

In 1999, Vardan moved to Nagorno Karabagh to establish the first Rehabilitation Centre in war torn Stepanakert.

Location: Armenia

Sector: Primary Healthcare

Year Selected: 2012

PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

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  • Rehabilitation Centre - Video - Part 1

Vardan started his career after the 1988 earthquake in Armenia which cost the lives of 30 000 people and left thousands more with disabilities.  At the time, the International Federation of Red Cross found that there were no rehabilitation services in Armenia. They established a modern rehabilitation centre and Vardan was one of the first local volunteers to study and become a therapist. In time he became Head Educator and Lecturer in the International Post-Trauma Rehabilitation Centre.

In 1999, Vardan moved to Nagorno Karabagh to establish the 'The Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre' in Stepanakert where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

The whole concept of rehabilitation was not developed in the former Soviet Union and people with disabilities were never integrated into the broader community. People with mental or physical disabilities were hidden within institutions or within the family home.

There was a need to start providing rehabilitation and occupational therapy to stroke victims, those with spinal cord injuries and amputations, people (including babies) with cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, and a range of other issues.

The war in the economically isolated and undeveloped enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, further highlighted the need for rehabilitation as thousands were injured and disabled during the conflict.

Vardan's initial dream was to develop a modern and professional rehabilitation centre in his country. But having established the centre the next immediate issue was the training of staff. Vardan thus established a one year post-graduate program for newly qualified nurses to train them as rehabilitation therapist nurses.

As a result, over 600 people with different disabilities are treatment and cared for in their rehabilitation centre each year. However, the demand is higher than they can cope with, and so they plan expand the current centre and to extend their service to other parts of the country.

Vardan is also planning:

1. To develop an educational program for new specialists for rehabilitation treatment across the country.

2. To develop sport, art and other activities for  people with disabilities, in order to integrate them into the broader community.

3. To advocate for equality for the disabled - that people will see them as  equal members of their communities with the same rights as others.

4. To spread his idea to the broader region,  especially those countries that have had recent conflict.

5. Finally, Vardan sees the potential for his work to facilitate peace and understanding to the region.

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