Public association “Belarusian society of disabled” and Common union of German disabled “For self-determination and dignity” have started the realization of joint project “Inclusive social space for common good”. This is an educational project and pursues two main goals.
First of all, it is the advanced training of “BSD’s” activists at regional and local levels. BSD’s activists will work together with German experts on “peer-counseling” principle, because German experts are also disabled.
Secondly, the project is aimed at close cooperation with the representatives of different state bodies, joint discussion of municipal demands for the realization of different provisions of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, such as barrier-free environment, inclusion and the possibility of social participation and the principle of “Universal design”.
In the period from December 9 till December 12 the first stage of the project “Educational week – 1” had been held in Belarus. The stage was dedicated to the understanding of inclusive social space. Such space connects barrier-free construction, transportation, technical and communicative decisions and their usage with social freedom of movement for persons with disabilities. In the frames of the week working meetings of the participants of the project, presentations, discussions, seminar “Barrier-free environment”, public readings and meetings with mass-media were held. Representatives of different NGOs and state organizations, representatives of authorities, architects, experts, students and all who care about the rights of persons with disabilities became guests of these events.
The press-conference became the final event of the project’s first stage. The head of “BSD” Vladimir Potapenko and Bundestag deputy Dr. Ilia Zaiphert were the speakers.
Mr. Zaiphert said: “During the project we want to create examples, when persons with and without disabilities live together and get common experience and benefits. It has to be based on the principles of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. We want to achieve the strengthening of the rights of a person, regardless of his disability, and the possibility for self-realization. During the first stage of the project we covered the topic of the rights of persons with disabilities and barrier-free environment at practical, philosophical and ethnical levels. Practice is as important as theory in these questions. For example, we have started the project “Inclusive school № 4 in Zhodino”. During one year we want to prepare the project of re-equipment of the school into completely accessible and barrier-free one. Pupils will study there and we will learn on its example how to build barrier-free environment for us all”.
Vladimir Potapenko said: “First of all I want to say that the first stage of the project was a success. On the example of working meetings in Zhodino we can say that we managed to interest public and state officials in the principles of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. Our project got such a decent support from the representatives of city authorities not without reason. We also understand all the difficulties we will face during the creation of inclusive school. But it will become possible thanks to our joint work. After the project all the people will start to accept inclusive schools as something they got used to, it will become a norm. We hope for that”. Talking about the future of the project Vladimir Potapenko said: “The realization of barrier-free environment in Kamenets is the next stage. The city is interested in it, because it will help to realize its touristic potential. And the distant goal is to work out universal manual on creation of barrier-free environment in the whole world. These are our plans”.
Office for the right of persons with disabilities is the project’s “Inclusive social space for common good” official partner.