Sožitje - The Slovenian Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities
Sožitje - The Slovenian Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities is an independent, nonprofit, nonparty, voluntary organisation with social and humanitarian objectives that strives for the improvement of both collective and individual care of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Our members, the Societies for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, operate in the area of the Republic of Slovenia.
Founded in 1963 as a national society for mentally disabled persons’ aid, the organization began establishing other community and intercommunity societies. Today there are 52 local societies included in the Sožitje Association, their activity is spread out through the entire area of Slovenia. 51 of them are the so-called Sožitje Societies – Societies for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities. The 52nd member of our organization is the Special Olympics of Slovenia that promotes and provides the intellectual disabled with various sports and recreational activities. A special area of interest is manifested in the activities of the Down’s Syndrome Section which operates under the Sožitje – Society for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities Ljubljana.
Today there are more than 14 000 members of local Sožitje societies. These are not only people with intellectual disabilities, but also their family members, experts in various fields and other members of community who are motivated by their own humane convictions.
In 1994 the Sožitje Association became a full member of INCLUSION INTERNATIONAL, a global federation of organizations for people with intellectual disabilities based in London, and INCLUSION EUROPE that is based in Brussels. At home Sožitje and other similar organisations are united in the National Council of Disabled People’s Organisations of Slovenia. The Sožitje Association follows the regulations of Slovenian Law on Societies and Law on Disabled People’s Organizations. It has acquired a special status of a society that works in the public interest in matters of social security, healthcare, culture and education.
Execution wise the organisation operates according to its acquired status as a representative disabled people’s organisation.
The highest organ of the Sožitje Association is its Assembly made up of representatives of all the Sožitje member societies. The Executive Committee with its 15 elected members is responsible for the resolutions of the assembly to be carried out. The Inspecting Committee has a supervisory function in the organization. There are also other committees and councils for individual fields of work, as well as a Council of Experts, a Publishing council and an Editorial Board of Publishing Activity.
In the mandate period 2010-2014 the Sožitje Association is ran and represented by Dr. Katja Vandal. Other members of the Executive Committee beside the president are:
- Marija Bačič - Sožitje Murska Sobota,
- Martin Benko - Sožitje Maribor,
- Nives Bizjak - Sožitje Ajdovščina,
- Miran Brejc – Slovenian Special Olympics Society,
- Marija Čater - Sožitje Šentjur,
- Branka Perne - Sožitje Kranj,
- Franc Rajh - Sožitje Laško,
- Aleksandra Šega - Sožitje Cerknica
- Ivana Šošter - Sožitje Slovenj Gradec,
- Miran Štern - Sožitje Sevnica,
- Zdenka Uhan - Sožitje Trebnje,
- Nevenka Zrnec - Sožitje Grosuplje,
- Jože Košmrlj - Sožitje Ribnica – Vice-President,
- Lidija Pratnemer - Sožitje Slovenske Konjice – Vice-President.
The operational execution of confirmed tasks is managed by Mateja De Reya - Director of Sožitje Association.