Special Needs Educator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Improving the quality of life of persons with special needs has been an area that needs significant development and growth in North Macedonia. Special Needs Educators participate in a range of activities that include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Assisting in government-run care facilities, civil society organizations, public schools, and special needs schools on improving the services they provide to beneficiaries
• Assisting staff/special educators in improving the quality of educational and recreational programs provided to beneficiaries of various needs and age ranges
• Working individually with beneficiaries on day-to-day activities with limited resources
• Working with parents on empowerment activities and the development of support groups
• Training staff, parents, and local community members on various topics such as working methodologies, behavior management, differentiated teaching, parental support, etc.
• Assisting with resource development
• Supporting the process of inclusion of beneficiaries into communities where there may be a high level of stigma and exclusion towards people with special needs
• Supporting organization staff with the design and implementation of projects, grant writing, and fundraising

Special Needs Educators’ work is embedded within Peace Corps North Macedonia’s Community Development project. This project focuses on supporting local communities and organizations in effectively managing sustainable community development by working on three objectives:

1) Improve the contribution of organizations and community groups to identified community needs
2) Increase community engagement and develop skills of community members, especially youth
3) Strengthen capacities of community organizations to improve quality of life for people with disabilities

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education or Occupational Therapy
• Minimum one year experience of working with children with developmental disabilities
• Minimum one year experience working with adults on all levels of the autism spectrum or other mental developmental disabilities

Desired Skills

• Experience in AmeriCorps
• Experience working or living in a multicultural environment
• Certification (or at least working knowledge) in special education methods such as ABA, PECS, Sensory Integration, Brain Gym or any other method that helps children with special needs
• Ability to develop and implement new working methods for special needs issues at the local level
• Experience working with children on the special needs spectrum, including autistic and Down syndrome children and adults

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

Due to the diverse nature of North Macedonia, multiple languages are spoken throughout the country. During Pre-service Training, Peace Corps trains Special Needs Educator primarily in the official language of Macedonian. Some Special Needs Educator are trained in both Macedonian and/or Albanian as Albanian is the second most widely spoken language in Macedonia, and because Peace Corps North Macedonia places Volunteers in sites where Albanian is the primary language spoken.

Post will be looking for Special Needs Educator who are interested in learning multiple languages as some placements will be in sites and homes where another language is spoken. Other languages Special Needs Educator may find spoken in their communities include but are not limited to Roma, Turkish, Bosnian, and Serbian. Peace Corps Volunteers who need support to learn an additional language are able to work with staff on a learning plan.

Living Conditions

• All Special Needs Educators will be placed with host families during Pre-Service training (the first three months in country). After training, Special Needs Educators will move to their permanent communities, where they will live with another host family for at least the first six months. In many rural communities, the host family arrangement may be the only housing option. Typical host family accommodation provides a room with basic furniture and shared bathroom and shared kitchen facilities. Special Needs Educators should come prepared to live as their hosts do, frugal in their use of utilities because of the high cost for electricity. The housing will be modest, yet functional, healthy and safe.

• Winter lasts from November to March with some snowfall and cold temperatures, similar to the mid-Atlantic area of the U.S. Many public buildings are not heated or poorly heated. Homes will also likely be colder during winter than in the U.S. Special Needs Educators should come prepared with very warm winter clothes and clothes that can be layered.

• Special Needs Educators should expect to have much less alone time than they may be used to. North Macedonia is a collectivist society and Volunteers who spend ample time with their host families, neighbors and colleagues will enjoy a higher level of integration.

• Special Needs Educators should be aware that it is more common to smoke indoors and outdoors in North Macedonia than it is in America, and it may be hard to avoid during service.

• Peace Corps is challenging regardless of where you serve, and in some way or another you will be a minority and may experience unwanted attention. For example, in some communities Volunteers of color or women may initially experience additional unwanted attention. Many LGBTQ Volunteers have served safely and successfully in North Macedonia. However, LGBTQ Volunteers may need to be thoughtful about living openly in their communities and use their best judgment to determine the best way to approach this with their counterparts and community members. Peace Corps North Macedonia’s Pre-Service training will address these types of issues to prepare you for service and post is extremely committed to supporting Volunteers of all backgrounds throughout their service. Volunteers representing a wide diversity of Americans have served with great success in North Macedonia.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in North Macedonia: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Couples will remain together during training and will serve in the same community during their service. They should have combinations of skills such as one in the education sector and the other in the community development sector.

Medical Considerations in North Macedonia

  • North Macedonia may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood;  mammography; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified. 
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: gluten.
  • After arrival in North Macedonia, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and mandatory immunizations.

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.


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