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What do barriers mean in the life of persons with disabilities and their full participation in the life of the society?

10/03/2012

When you leave your apartments look around: Are there many persons with disability in the streets, at work, swimming pools, theatres, cafés? No! And at the same time every 20th citizen of Belarus is a disabled. Where are they all? Why are they not present in our life? Is it because their state of health differs from the “norm”? No! Barriers is the main reason, they prevent them from being among us.

Every one of us every day faces barriers on the way to the realization of our goals. Some of them we can handle ourselves using our own abilities. But what should a person do when he is limited by disabilities and the state of health? Persons with disabilities have to overcome difficulties with the help of family, friends and surrounding them people. Sometimes we don’t even see that barriers we easily overcome are insurmountable for persons with disabilities. What kinds of barriers make persons with disabilities “invisible” for the life of the society? What prohibits persons with disabilities from full participation in the life of the society?

·    Negative or indifferent attitude. Prejudices, stereotypes of thinking in the attitude to persons with disabilities create barriers on the way to education, employment, participation in public and cultural life, social involvement.

·    Discrimination. The use of negative stereotypes in the mind of every person and in mass consciousness leads to the creation of a steady barrier on the way to the involvement to the society of persons with disabilities – the discrimination. In common meaning the discrimination means making distinctions. It is characterized by humiliating treatment of a person because of his disability, limitation of the rights, compulsion and sometimes violence.

·    The absence of accessibility. Many buildings (including those of public usage), streets and roads, transportation system, informational system are not accessible for everybody. The absence of accessibility to the physical surrounding is a widely used reason of refuse by the persons with disabilities to look for a job, it is also a factor limiting the accessibility of common education and healthcare. The absence of accessibility can become the reason of social marginalization of persons with disabilities.

·    Inadequate information and communication. Full inclusion to the life of the modern society is closely connected with the possibility to get and to use information. There is not enough information in accessible formats for persons with disabilities for full inclusion to the life of the society. Many needs of persons with disabilities in the sphere of communication are not satisfied.

·    The absence of necessary consultations and inclusion to social life. The majority of persons with disabilities do not take participation in the processes of decision making influencing their lives. Such limitation is typical for the systems of social services, rehabilitation services. Researches show that persons with disabilities are not sufficiently informed in accessible way about the created for them by the society types of support.

·    Absence of data and experience. The absence of data about disability, researches, experience of realizing successful programs can prevent from understanding the problems and practical activities.

·    Inadequate political measures and standards. During taking political measures the needs of persons with disabilities are not always taken into account, or sometimes the existing political standards are not realized on practice. The usage of models of “separate” living of persons with disabilities directly contradicts the goals of full inclusion to the life of the society.

Office for the rights of persons with disabilities is holding informational campaign aimed at the creation of accessible environment and elimination of barriers for full participation of persons with disabilities in the life of the society. The main slogan of the campaign is: “Every society is as strong as its members are”.