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“To independent living through Accessibility” with Jamie Bolling

01/03/2012

Provision of accessibility and elimination of all kinds of barriers for persons with disabilities. How are these problems solved in Belarus? What foreign experience can we use? The discussion of these and other questions was held on February 28 at press-conference held by the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities. The event was held in the frames of informational campaign Accessibility. The speakers at the press-conference were the coordinator of the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities Sergey Drozdovskiy and the executive director of the “European Network on Independent Living” Jamie Bolling.

The questions of capacity, employment and mobility were raised during the press-conference… and they are just a small part of problems which a person with disability has to face every day. Such persons even have problems with getting an insurance. Besides, they often have low self-esteem, have to live with stereotypes imposed by the society.

In his speech the coordinator of the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities Sergey Drozdovskiy told about the Office’s work and about the informational campaign “Accessibility”: “The Office is trying to work in such a way that to help a person with disability to become a full member of the society. In order to do it we are holding the informational campaign “Accessibility”, work with volunteers and the representatives of mass-media, created legal assistance service and accessible web-site, we establish relationships with the representatives of the authorities. The Office’s main goal is the assistance in elimination of all types of barriers for persons with disabilities on their way to independent living.

The executive director of “European Network on Independent Living” Jamie Bolling shared the experience of solving the problems with Accessibility in Sweden. In particular, she told about the Institute of personal assistant: “Municipal authorities and the state offer a person with disability the possibility to have a personal assistant, who helps this person to live a normal life – they help to take shower and cook food, travel, visit theatres, educational establishments, go to work… This is a paid by the state and municipal authorities job. Everything possible is done now in Sweden in order to raise the status of this job. The institute of personal assistant is a very important step to solving the problem of the elimination of barriers. Also, a lot of NGOs are assisting in employment of persons with disabilities”.

“Our knowledge and experience showed that the problems of persons with disabilities are similar in all the countries of the world. The only difference is in the society’s attitude towards these problems – said Sergey Drozdovskiy. That is why the slogan of the informational campaign “Accessibility” is: Every society is as strong as its members are”.

We remind that the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities is holding the informational campaign “Accessibility”. Its main goal is the elimination of all types of barriers for persons with disabilities – mental, architectural, economic, legal.