Spain – Barcelona : ACIDH, Catalan Association for Integration and Human Development

It is dedicated to persons who are of limited intelligence. It came into being in the year 1994 on the initiative of a sister, Montserrat Baró, when she saw that there was no service for this group of people, that they were forgotten and marginalised in our society because they were not recognized as being handicapped, nor accepted as normal persons. Their reality is that they have an intellectual deficit that prevents them from attaining abstract reasoning, even though they have many other abilities.

With the help of professionals and families ACIDH was set up; the aim was that these persons would be able to develop all their human potential. It was envisaged as an entity that would be complete, that is to say, it would provide a response to all the needs of people with limited intelligence throughout their life. It was also intended to be integrating so that these people would become fully integrated in society. 

Three years later, the Tutelary Foundation was created for those persons who could not count on their families and who were not sufficiently autonomous to be independent. 
 
 
At present, after 22 years, ACIDH offers the following services: 
  • A school for pupils, boys and girls aged from twelve to sixteen, where they can follow primary studies. At present there are 90 pupils, divided into classes of 10. 

  • There are also evening classes for those who are working. Thirty pupils attend at present.
  • There is a meals service provided that is open to the whole of the Association.
  • A service for work orientation and integration which prepares young people through studies that are subsidized by the government; they are followed up by professionals until they find work and an employment contract. 
  • The Association has a Special Work Centre, with a laundry and a catering service, that employs a total of thirty-five young people. 
  • Five residential centres, where there is the continuous presence of educators. 
  • There are seven supervised hostels with non-continuous daily follow-up for the persons who are more autonomous. And there are five apartments for couples who receive orientation and support.
 
A leisure club is available for the persons of all the ACIDH services. They may use it during their free time, there is no age limit, and it is also open for those outside who are connected with the group. 
 
Finally, through its Tutelary Foundation, the group offers guardianship for 100 persons, giving them the protection that their families cannot offer them. 
 
The Lord has blessed this work, possibly because it serves the smallest, those who do not have a voice in our society. 
 
We read in no. 9 of our Rule of Life: ‘We live in apostolic communities. Together we are sent to those who have neither voice nor influence in this world so that our actions may “speak Jesus Christ”.’ This was the motive that impelled me to set up the Association, with others from an LSA community so that our actions may “speak Jesus Christ”.’ 
 
This was the motive that impelled me to set up the Association with others from an LSA community so that our actions might ‘speak Jesus Christ’. 
 
Today, at the age of 81, I still collaborate, but I have left the presidency in the hands of a member of our board of directors, Dr Ferran Morell, a specialist in lung complaints and professor at the University of Barcelona. He has become very involved, giving a fresh impetus to the organisation. 
 
 
I thank God for this Project, for the fact that we can give a response to a need not covered by the Government. 
Among the ACIDH volunteers a group of young people has emerged who are preparing to be laypeople of the Assumption family. 
 
Montserrat Baró Sans, Community of Sant Andreu, Barcelona 
15/11/2016
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