Our Projects

HAO Projects in Romania

L.E.A.D – Labour Market Employment for Young Adults with a Disability
Erasmus+ Project – Education in Using Virtual Reality in Supported Employment & Career Counselling


To better prepare young people with disabilities/ special educational needs for the work environment through use of Virtual Reality Education.

There are incredible benefits of using Virtual Reality in the process of Supported Employment. This project is especially directed at young people with disabilities who want to work and students/ graduates with special educational needs. It is prepared by experienced Supported Employment agencies & Career Counselling providers.


To educate Supported Employment Counsellors and Career Counsellors in using Virtual Reality in their practice.

To produce an innovative educational methodological framework for implementation of Virtual Reality in Supported Employment and Career Counselling.

M.C.M – My Career Matters!


To increase participation of people with intellectual disabilities in lifelong learning programmes and employment.


Developing career management skills of people with intellectual disabilities – by making resources in career development and learning opportunities more accessible.

Improving teaching methods and tools for staff in order to meet the needs and expectations of the students.

Social Inclusion Project

One of the difficulties facing County Councils is the lack of non-institutional accommodation for young disabled people – who reach the age of 18 and are no longer eligible for child services. These vulnerable young people are sent from child placement centres – housing up to 60 children – to large adult neuro-psychiatric institutions. Whilst child placement centres are not ideal; moving young people into large adult institutions – where the ratio of staff to young person is far less than that of a placement centre – is traumatic and puts the child’s physical and emotional wellbeing at risk.

County Council staff have no special training in working with disabled young people in the community. Their experience is of working in institutions where service provision uses a medical model.

HAO provides a rolling programme of training to local authority staff in the social model approach to service delivery.

Group Home Projects

  • Casa Catalina – Galati
  • Casa James Dillon – Constanta

A pilot training project for 6 staff members working at “Casa Cătălina” achieved a number of successful outcomes; the key worker system was introduced and each young disabled person has had a named member of staff responsible for their programme.

HAO has trained key workers on how to develop Person Centred Plans with young disabled adults and how to identify individualised activities that will lead to their greater independence.

Supported Independent Living Apartments –

HAO supported four young people with disability to live in an apartment in Constanta. We helped these young people gain independent living skills, get jobs and deal with the day to day challenges they face living in the community and being part of the workforce.

Safety Net Project

HAO provide a safety net of support to young adults with a disability who have moved into their own apartment. The level of support varies according to the needs of the young person; from being at the end of the telephone to hear about their latest purchase, to helping them manage their finances so they can pay their bills.  We help and encourage the young people to develop their own network of support from the friends, work colleagues and other contacts they have made in the community.

We see this project as the final phase of HAO’s Social Inclusion Programme.

Reaching Out Romania

Reaching Out Romania works with victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. They offer them a home and psychological, medical and legal assistance. They help the victims to initiate or continue their studies, to seek jobs or do whatever it takes for them to rebuild their lives.

HAO has made donations to this charity also.

HAO-Funded Projects in Ireland

Music Therapeutic Project – C.R.C, Scoil Mochua, Dublin


To facilitate greater community participation & social integration for people with special needs, via the medium of music, by the provision of education and therapeutic music training programmes for suitable beneficiaries and their carers.


To utilise music to generate fun, joy, movement, drama & games in a familiar environment. To show how the impact of music, with the participation of mentally & physically challenged people, could enhance their quality of life. 

Initially, HAO Ireland funded two pilot projects – at St. Brigid’s School, Dundalk & St. Joseph’s School, Newry – between September 2017 and June 2019. Following the successful outcome of these projects, HAO decided to train teachers in Scoil Mochua to enable them to continue with the music project concepts. This project commenced in September 2020 and is still running today.

The objective of the HAO music project was that Mary would train the teachers to use music with the children and build the teachers’ confidence in doing so.  All the teachers that worked with Mary, gained a massive amount of confidence in delivering the music curriculum to their classes. They are confident now, to use this music as a distraction from behaviours occurring and/or a comfort to children who are experiencing frustrations. It is great to have spontaneous movement breaks as well as a structured time to move to music. Apart from all that, the joy that singing, moving, dancing and playing instruments, has brought to the children in Scoil Mochua is testimonial to the success of this project.

Multi-Sensory Room – C.R.C, Scoil Mochua, Dublin

Multi-Sensory rooms provide an environment in which you can create events which focus on particular senses such as feel, vision, sound, smell and taste – as well as the more abstract senses of wellbeing, space, time and togetherness. This can happen in many ways; through special sound and visual effects, tactile experiences, vibration, use of aromas and music – in many combinations and variations. These rooms also have various different themes.

It is an essential part of the children’s wellbeing and the holistic education we provide for our students. It provides essential opportunities for our children to get out of wheelchairs, to reach, crawl, stretch towards items and each other in a safe environment.  This creates not only sensory experience but social interactions and physical and mental opportunities which no other environment can create for our children.  They truly enjoy and benefit from their sensory room time. 

In November 2020, HAO Ireland made a substantial contribution to Scoil Mochua.  This enabled them to bring to fruition the re-equipment of their Multi-Sensory Room project – which they had been endeavouring to achieve over several years. This project is now complete & functioning successfully.

The time I spend with the children in the Multi-Sensory room is very special, I can observe them in a way I cannot in the classroom.  They all seem so much calmer.  Behaviours seem to disappear.  They all find different aspects of the room that capture them.  One may fixate on the bubble tube, one on the switches that changes the colours of the bubble tube, some on the lights that are projected around the room, some love the sensation of the water or the sensory wall.  I have observed communications that could not normally happen for the children in their wheelchairs, they crawl, roll or shuffle towards lights or objects or friends and staff.  They initiate communication, they point, gaze, stare. There is a feeling of togetherness, calmness, and wellbeing, it is an escape, one that seems to capture everyone in some sensory way.  It is no wonder all the children love to see the sensory room symbol on their visual timetable for that day.

Eye Gaze Project – C.R.C, Scoil Mochua, Dublin

Eye Gaze is a technology that allows students to use the movements of their eyes to control a computer or communication device. This can break down barriers in communication and learning for students with complex physical needs, who find it difficult to point or manipulate learning materials.

 In August 2021,  HAO Ireland contributed funds, to Scoil Mochua in Clondalkin, to enable them to purchase ‘Tobii Dynavox I-13’ (Eye Gaze interaction tool).

The Eye Gaze technology is an incredible opportunity for the children of Scoil Mochua. It has opened up the world for the students. We strive to give these children the very best educational experience every day and are constantly amazed at their engagement and feedback – despite the multiple challenges they face in their daily lives. The additional support fits in with our independent communication ethos and multi-sensory teaching methods – currently at work in Scoil Mochua. We strive to support and encourage all independent communication and expression of thoughts, feelings and needs. The new Eye Gaze package comes with full training and ongoing support for all our staff members. It is hoped that the knowledge gained will transfer to the students’ life outside school and Eye Gaze will become, for some, a means of communication.

The Eye Gaze tool has benefited our students who have:

  • Physical difficulties accessing computers,
  • Difficulties in making and maintaining relationships, and being part of meaningful interactions and peep groups,
  • Difficulties in maintaining concentration, due to being non-verbal, and being part of meaningful interactions and lessons,
  • Difficulties related to communication in all areas of school life,
  • Difficulties related to communication in all areas of home life,
  • Difficulties related to sensory impairments.