We educate, unite, help.
The Slovenian Society for Celiac Disease (SDC) is a humanitarian organization that works in the public interest and has been helping children and adults with celiac disease throughout Slovenia for 30 years. It is organized by branches, which makes it easier for members to access and brings them closer to the activities organized by the association. The association, both at the central and branch level, implements various projects and activities that primarily address the problems and hardships of patients with celiac disease due to insufficient knowledge of the disease and its treatment (very strict gluten-free diet).
Education, consultations with experts, workshops, publications: One of the important tasks of the Slovenian Celiac Society is to educate members and their relatives and the wider social community about celiac disease and its only cure – an extremely demanding gluten-free diet. Celiac disease is a lifelong chronic systemic autoimmune disease resulting from hypersensitivity to gluten. For patients with celiac disease, the only cure is a strict and consistent medically indicated gluten-free diet, which must not contain any trace of gluten. Consumption of food with gluten (even if only in traces) in patients causes an acute deterioration of the health condition due to damage to the intestinal villi and consequent malabsorption (active celiac disease). Long-term chronic intake, even if only traces of gluten, also lead to many associated and irreversible diseases (thyroid disease, diabetes, reproductive disorders, neurological diseases, etc.) and even cancer.
We offer professional lectures to members where they can learn about the disease and diagnostic procedures. We educate them about the safe choice of foods and about the pitfalls that lie in wait for them with a gluten-free diet. We organize consultations with experts (doctors, food technologists, dieticians, psychologists…). We organize declaration readings and shopping workshops for adults and children. Since gluten-free food behaves differently from gluten-free food, we offer them workshops where they learn how to prepare gluten-free bread, a wide variety of pastries and many gluten-free dishes. For new members who wish to do so, we provide a mentor for individual patient-to-patient assistance. We publish useful publications with educational content for patients and their relatives.
Testing: Because patients with celiac disease pay dearly with their health for any mistake in food selection, we carry out testing of food products for gluten content and thus make it easier for our members to decide which products to trust. We publish the results of the tests in the social newsletter of Celiac and on the internal social page.
Rehabilitations, camps, gatherings: We organize short and multi-day rehabilitations for adults, children and camps for young people and young families. We get together at sports and recreational activities, trips and chat rooms, where we exchange experiences and give support. At these get-togethers, we ensure safe food by organizing training for the cooking staff of accommodation capacities, we work intensively with them all the time and check the menus.
Training for catering and cooking staff: Since the gluten-free diet is still too poorly known even in society and institutions (kindergartens, schools, homes for the elderly and even in some hospitals), we help members make arrangements for a gluten-free diet. We organize trainings and prepare educational publications for the cooking staff of schools, kindergartens and other social welfare institutions. We provide training for caterers and producers who want to prepare gluten-free food.
Warning and raising awareness of state institutions and the general public about the plight of celiac patients: Among the important achievements of the association in the past years of operation, we can count changes in the field of legislation (conscripts were exempted from military service, parents have the right to financial compensation for caring for a child with special needs and all other rights that are linked to this decision. Despite many years of warning, patients with celiac disease are still not cared for in the same way as it is regulated in most other European countries and in the way that other patients are cared for in Slovenia. Their only medicine – gluten-free food is still completely self-paying for them. Due to insufficient supply, students with celiac disease cannot use meal vouchers in restaurants like all other healthy students. That is why we draw the attention of state institutions and the public to the plight of patients and advocate for the arrangement of financial assistance in the form of social security allowance, tax relief or assistance in purchasing food in the form of a voucher or prescription for the purchase of basic gluten-free foods.
International integration: within the framework of AOECS (The Association of European Celiac Societies), which unites the national patient societies of European countries, the Slovenian Celiac Society also connects with other patient societies, exchanges experiences and seeks common solutions. Under the auspices of the AOECS, the UN, WHO, FAO and EU bodies are engaged in the equal treatment of celiac disease sufferers in Europe, accurate labeling and declaration of all industrially produced food products, determination of precise standards for food that is considered gluten-free, permanent control of already declared products gluten-free, banning the use of gluten in foods that are naturally gluten-free.
Certification of gluten-free products: The Slovenian Celiac Society is also authorized by the AOECS for the certification of gluten-free products for Slovenia and the awarding of the registered AOECS symbol “Crossed out cereal grain”, which ensures the highest level of safety and offers patients a clear recognition of the relevant products throughout Europe.
Help for socially disadvantaged members: We send free packages of gluten-free products to the families of members who find themselves in need or have the status of a socially disadvantaged member.
Celiac magazine: We publish the Celiac magazine, which members receive free of charge and where professional and popular articles are published in the field of celiac disease and gluten-free living.