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Things that will revive state program on integration

Things that will revive state program on integration

Such topics as how to accept a person with disability without trying to change him, how to make laws work and make people play the main role and not to be just a topic of a discussion were discussed at the round table devoted to a new state program for 2016-2020.

To be a subject not an object

A new state program of social integration of persons with disabilities for 2016-2020 is being prepared in Belarus and the authorities promise to adopt the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in the Republic of Belarus by the end of the year.

Because of this on July 13 representatives of NGOs, research institute of labour, the Ministry of labour and social protection, the Ministry of education and other state bodies discussed how to make laws on persons with disabilities more useful and close to their target audience.

“It is a unique fact that the program is being discussed at the stage of conceptualization but not the ready product”, - says Sergey Drozdovsky, the coordinator of the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities.

The participants of the discussion consider that it is needed in order that the state program wouldn’t exist separately from the people it was created for and that the people who are its target audience wouldn’t become just a topic for a discussion but its full participants – its subjects but not objects.

Programs are being created but the issues are not being solved.

“The Office organized several round tables in Oblasts – meetings with NGOs representatives and the authorities. The issues for many of the Oblasts are the same: dissatisfaction with inclusion by persons with disabilities and fear that state programs are being created and dissatisfaction with the way issues are being solved stays”, - says Sergey Drozdovsky.

Anna Zakrevskaya, the head of the department of social protection of the research institute, also mentions it and suggests evaluating the results of programs taking into account the satisfaction of persons with disabilities. Besides, the institute’s employees paid attention to the fact these are not the buildings that have to be accessible but processes inside them: sport, transport, employment or state management.

Control or financing

Institute’s point of view on the change of the system of control over the execution of the program provoked strong reaction of some people: no matter how you control, but local authorities are very often offered to implement the state program “using their own resources” and at the same time medical rehabilitation gets more than generous financing – about a half of all the funds.

Whether the money is the problem or it is in misunderstanding of the importance of the question by developers the building that according to the norms have to be accessible are not and people with disabilities have to adapt again. And sometimes it all comes to the words “we will do it later”.

Tolerance myth

Talking about the possibility for people with disabilities to control the process Mikhail Antonenko, a representative of “BelTIZ” and a person who is visually impaired, recollected a myth about the tolerance of Belarusian people and the fact how hard it is to find a job: “Who will agree to make me the head of a department of social protection in any district? As only there is a vacancy we say: “Hire a person with visual impairment or a wheelchair-bound one…” but we never get a positive answer.” Mikhail also mentioned the fact that there are no objects accessible for visually impaired people in the country.

Presentation by the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities covers the topic of human rights as disability issue. In particular it shows the issues of independent living, understanding of disability and says that you can accept it as a peculiarity of a person.

Another issue Sergey Drozdovsky mentioned was bad communication between citizens, organizations and mass-media and also interdepartmental: “Today the Ministry of social protection has to buy primary data on disability from the Ministry of Health. It sounds at least odd.”

The round table was held in the frames of “Accessibility week”. Similar meetings will take place till December 2014. Their goal is to gather opinions and wishes of all the interested parties about the state program.