A unique for our country event “Accessibility Week” took place in Minsk from May 17 till May 22 in the frames of the information campaign “Accessibility”. It was devoted to problems of all the kinds of Accessibility for persons with disabilities. Educational HR defence organization “Office for the rights of persons with disabilities” became the organizer of the event. Accessibility Week consisted of 16 different events: public lectures and discussion, master-classes, accessibility forum, showings of documentaries and social ads, opening and award ceremonies for the winners of accessibility symbol contest.
“The event took place under the slogan “From accessibility to equality”. The notion Accessibility gives a person with disability the possibility to live a full and independent life, to be equal with other people. We are all very different, but we all have the right for communication, labour, education, cultural leisure, - said Sergey Drozdovskiy, the coordinator of the “Office for the rights of persons with disabilities” at the press-conference held during the opening of Accessibility Week. – Here, during Accessibility Week, we want to learn something new, to discus, to exchange experience and opinions. We have invited experts from different countries in the sphere of Accessibility and human right of persons with disabilities. We hope that their experience will be very useful for many people”.
Accessibility Week started with the public lecture of Russian expert Elmira Naberushkina “Accessibility as the criterion of quality of life of persons with disabilities”. The main topics of her lecture were: Accessibility in the light of city citizenship of persons with disabilities; philosophy and methodology of accessibility; state policy of accessibility creation and improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities; analyses of construction of accessible environment practices.
Visitors were offered three public lectures during the Accessibility Week. Including the abovementioned one they could visit the lecture “Accessibility of the environment and the ways of advocating of accessibility legislation” by Bulgarian HR defender Kapka Panaiotova and public lecture “Universal design as the means of equality provision” by Natalia Lazovskaya (Belarus).
Public discussion “Accessibility of employment for persons with disabilities” became a very important event during the Accessibility Week. Before the discussion, visitors watched documentary “All good things come to he who waits”, kindly presented by UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in the Republic of Belarus. Russian expert Marina Khadina, the head of carrier services of HeadHunter company, deputy head of the department of organization of work aimed at assistance to employment of the committee on labour, employment and social protection of Minsk city executive committee Liudmila Gorustovich took part in the discussion. Leonid Kalitenia, director of “Center of social innovation” was the moderator of the discussion.
Accessibility forum took part during the Accessibility Week, it was used for presentations of different projects and as a showcase by organizations realizing the projects on Accessibility topic. 5 organizations took part in the forum. Belarusian society of disabled, BElchair, Assistance to disabled children and young disabled, Office for the rights of persons with disabilities, Marketplace of organizational development presented their projects.
Master-classes were held during the Accessibility week: “How to create an accessible website” by Alexander Severin (Minsk) and “Barrier-free environment monitoring” by Galina Krot and Evgeniya Shevko (Belarus).
All the master classes and lectures were available live online. In some time they will be available for downloading from our website.
Documentaries of the Accessibility Week. They gave stimulus and became the emotional part of evening discussions: if a disabled child can study together with “normal” kids and to choose a profession he likes to become a good specialist; if modern society needs persons with disabilities and if it is ready to accept such people; if there is a personal heroism in everyday overcoming of hardships, connected with disability; if the state and society have the right to restrict a person with disability from choosing his own way of life… One evening was dedicated to social ads. After the people who visited the event had watched about 30 social advertisements they discussed What and How should be shown in these ads in order to reach their important goals and evoke high emotional response.
Especially we want to mention the event held in the frames of Accessibility Week “Free legal assistance for persons with disabilities”. Free legal consultations for 1,2,3 group disabled and for parents with disabled children had been held across the country. All the attorneys’ offices and some legal clinics joined the event. Free legal consultations had been held in the “Office for the rights of persons with disabilities”. 70 people appealed for free legal consultations only to the “Office for the rights of persons with disabilities”. The main problems people were concerned about were the following: housing and labour law, re-examination by MREC, sanatoria and health treatment, main benefits, reinstatement in capacity to work, guardianship. We don’t have the exact number of consultations held all over the country, but we can say that Accessibility week made legal assistance accessible to all the disabled people.
All the guests of the event were people who really care about the topics of Accessibility and protection of human rights of persons with disabilities.