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A brawl for 7 zlotys

The mission of the JiM Foundation is to provide the highest quality assistance to children with autism. We have created the best
facility in the country, which has come under furious attack from local officials.

After an inspection that lasted nearly a year, the Mayor of Lodz is demanding that we return nearly PLN 1.5 million in educational subsidies. Among other things, officials do not like the fact that the Foundation finances additional therapy for the children, that the school conducts classes during vacations (in their opinion, it should not), that the children are fed and transported to school at the expense of the institution. And the biggest part of the undermined expenditures are the ongoing renovations, which made it possible, for example, to get rid of mold in the building once donated by the city and to adapt it to the needs of children with autism. Those who were with us a few years ago will immediately notice the colossal change in the conditions in which our kids can learn today.

Meanwhile, the services of the Mayor of Lodz are extremely selective in presenting their allegations in order to put the organization
and its management in an unfavorable light. For anyone who has ever been to JiM (Mrs. Mayor of Lodz has never been)
and knows the needs of our kids the information being disseminated is absurd.

  • Purchase seafood! (In the Foundation's schools for 7 hours a day there is a household workshop where our children learn to cook. The expense for the purchase of fish sticks is a mere 7.99 zlotys - which, however, the services of President Zdanowska no longer report).
  • The salary of the Foundation's board of directors amounting to "as much as" PLN 100,000 per year (board members also work
    in educational institutions, and the sum quoted by officials is the gross amount including employer costs.
    The fact that the Foundation employs nearly 200 people, that the salary structure is flat, and that top specialists draw similar salaries to the board is also not mentioned by officials).
  • 40 thousand zlotys spent during the year on photography services (this expense takes on quite a different tone if one understands that we are creating photo-based tools for hundreds of our non-speaking children with autism to communicate. However, the magistrate is not interested in this explanation).
  • Training courses, including "overseas!" (that they involved a trip for both therapists and parents to the Autism-Europe Congress and a conference on Applied Behavior Analysis, and that the trainings could be an expense funded by the educational subsidy, officials also do not report).
  • Delegations (the fact that therapists travel with our children to mass schools to include them in education there
    is also not mentioned in the officials' information).

In addition, officials are questioning, for example, teachers' pay for classes in July and August,
because classes
during the vacations are not an ongoing need of the school. Ours are. Children with autism will not go to summer camps, they require therapy and care all year round.

What is being questioned is that we drive our children to school. Again - our children themselves will not come to school. If we don't drive them, some of them simply won't come. The municipality should drive them, but it shirks this statutory duty, telling parents - your children go to a "non-public" one, then let the school drive them. Now an attempt is being made to extort money from us for this expense. It's hard to find a greater hypocrisy.

Hanna Zdanowska's officials, in their viciousness, are grasping at word games and are also undermining playground maintenance services or building cleaning, and even ... a full-time school principal. And these are, after all, the ongoing needs of all schools, regardless of their specifics.

We have repeatedly provided comprehensive explanations, explained in detail what expenses we incur and why they are necessary for the proper operation of JiM schools. However, officials still do not seem to understand the specifics of working with children with autism and how JiM's activities differ from those of other educational institutions.
It is increasingly difficult to resist the impression that they simply do not want to understand.

The "accusations" raised and accentuated by the magistrate concern things that are irrelevant to the claimed amount of PLN 1.5 million, and those that could put the Foundation in a bad light. They also seem designed to blur the true essence of the dispute over the education subsidy money. Repeated like a mantra "seafood" , "CEO's salary" and "foreign trips" were - in our opinion - meant to evoke associations with scandals occurring among NGOs in the past.

Meanwhile, unusually loudly and without sweeping under the rug, we are talking about the demand for a refund of PLN 1.5 million, because the matter concerns a much more important issue, both now and in the future - understanding the specific needs of the school,
in which children with autism learn. In their justifications, officials repeat "this is not a current need of the school," "this is not a current need of the school." And yet, these are the needs of a school for children with autism.

In our opinion, the fact that the President's services are attacking the largest NGO in the city is unprecedented. This is a huge mistake that could affect her entire image.

We now have thousands of angry parents in JiM. They know very well how they are being treated by the city schools run by Madam Mayor's officials. When they finally found the best place for their children, attempts are being made to take them away.

Tomasz Michalowicz, president of the JiM Foundation

Below is a gallery of photos from our household workshop - this is where the children learn to cook!
And also photos of the therapeutic materials we have prepared.

*The JiM Foundation's 2013 financial statements were voluntarily audited by the Josef Welt law firm and received an "unqualified" rating. *An audit commissioned by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy for compliance with PBO regulations also took place in 2013. It too had a positive result.

See also
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