Tag Archives: PWD Sites

Serbia, at your service!

It has been on the news lately: theatres in Serbia will no longer be off limits for the deaf. The change will happen on February 29 so that all people with auditory impairments in Serbia—in Belgrade, particularly—will be able to enjoy the plays that will be simultaneously translated into sign language in Zvezdara. “Theatre is seeing and hearing,” its artistic director was reported saying. “If you ‘turn off’ the sound, there is a far lesser impact.”

Serbia is a militarily neutral state. It has an upper-middle economy enriched by its service, industrial, and agricultural sectors. Aside from the Serbs comprising 82.86% of the country’s populace, there are 40 other nationalities living side by side in the country such as the Hungarians, Bosniaks, Roma, Yugoslavs, Croatians, Montenegrins, Albanians, Slovaks, Vlachs, Romanians, Macedonians, Bulgarians, Bunjevci, Muslims, Rusyns, Slovenes, Ukrainians, Gorani, Germans, Russians, and Czechs.

According to the last census in 2002, the Republic of Serbia has 7,498,001 inhabitants (excluding Kosovo and Metohija). It has no official figure on how many of its populace has disabilities but Serbia guarantees all of its citizens to have the same rights and duties and enjoy full ethnic equality as the other.

Proof of this is its law on professional rehabilitation and employment of persons with disabilities. Not only does it aim to promote rehabilitation and employment, it also ensures gender equality among PWDs. The details, expenses and criteria just have to be prescribed by and in the mutual agreement of the minister in charge of employment issues, minister in charge of health issues and minister in charge of pension and disability insurance issues.

“To tie a person down and leave him in bed for life is tantamount to torture.” ~Eric Rosenthal

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of UNICEF CEESIS

Austria

A year after the Austrian Federal Government passed its Disability Concept, integrative schooling for disabled and non-disabled children during the first eight years of schooling has been thought of in the School Act passed in 1993 and 1996.

The Austrian Federal Constitution was even amended to protect persons with disability (PWDs) in the country against discrimination!

These being the case, PWDs and non-PWDs alike are guaranteed equal treatment in Austria. The Federal Ministry for Social Administration has also thought of the rehabilitation concept, which dealt primarily with issues of rehabilitation, advice for disabled people and the principles of “sheltered workshops.”

In Austria, “persons who are threatened with a permanent and substantial physical, mental or emotional impairment in an area of social relationship in the foreseeable future are also regarded as disabled.” These social relationships are child-rearing, education, employment, other occupations, communication, living and leisure activities.

“Institutional stays” are not encouraged in Austria; pensions or care benefits would be only approved once all forms of rehabilitation have been exhausted. There is even a central appliances advice bureau set up by the Provincial Invalid Office for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland to maintain comprehensive, computerized documentation on all the appliances available in the marketplace for disabled people. The Austrian Standardisation Institute would be the one responsible with the technical issues through “a permanent specialist standards committee” that consists of experts, representatives of organisations for disabled people, and the appliance advice centre.

Austria believes that “integration into society can therefore be most likely to succeed if disabled and non-disabled people learn to live together right from early childhood.” As such, the Federal Government intends to (1) replace tax allowances for disabled people with deductible amounts or direct cash benefits; (2) provide the national fund for special assistance for disabled people with adequate financing; and (3) ensure that disabled people have access to information and counselling.

“Disability is one of the many forms in which human life occurs: it should be accepted as such and the people concerned should not be excluded in any way from participating in society.” ~ Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs in co-operation with Österreichische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Rehabilitation

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of UniCredit Bank Austria AG

Poland

Eight years from now, the country bordered by Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Russia will be hosting an “event that redefines handball” with the nation of Sweden.

Will the persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Poland be able to participate? How are they being treated there?

Only after the 1978 Census was the Medical Board for Disability and Employment able to legally classify the number of PWDs in Poland. It was totaled to 2, 485, 0011 or 7.1% of the entire population.

Last 2009,  the Association of Friends of Integration together with the Administrative Office of the country organized a competition to find out which building “are best suited” for PWDs. Those that won were the Opera House in Wroclaw, the Town Hall in Dabrowa Gornicza, the Public Library in Koszalin, the Sport and Exhibition Hall in Gdynia, and the Cable Car to Kasprowy Wierch in Zakopane.

Then last May 9, 2013, the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) launched a “crucial component” that would (1) ensure that PWDs are able to participate fully and effectively in society on an equal basis with others and (2) address and assess the needs of PWDs better.

A bill was filed in its Senate last April 18, 2014 “to boost welfare benefits for parents who leave their jobs to care for their disabled children.” The latter will receive $431 by 2016.

Social security in Poland includes insurances in retirement, disability, sickness, and accident. All employees in the country are covered by the compulsory pension and disability pension insurance. They may continue the insurance on a voluntary basis after it expires but not if they already have a title to another form of insurance.

Its surroundings are “user-friendly” to PWDs. Entrances to its establishments are stairless. Doorframes were regulated to be at least 80 cm wide so that a wheelchair can be taken inside a room. All sounds and alarms must be audible, all stairs must be rough, and all doors and signs must be lettered or numbered.

Tourism For All is a website that lists these attractions to PWDs based on the type of restrictions such as wheelchairs, prosthesis, or crutches. Another website does the same thing for the PWDs of the Kaszubian District.

Poland also has activation workshops, physical rehabilitation centres offering spa treatments, forms of active and passive recreation, and group bonding events. The gyms, fitness clubs, swimming pools, and water parks here offer discounts and special assistance. The Polish Association of Disability in Sports has the program “Start,” which aims to organize and develop the common physical culture, sport, the rehabilitation of movement, tourism and recreation for PWDs.

A travel agency in Krakow would organize excursions for PWDs to Europe. Wooden platforms have been laid in the beaches in Wladyslawowo, Cetniewo, Ustka, Sopot and Mielno. In Swinoujscie, Dziwnow, and Pobierowo, the descents to the beach are gentle so that PWDs can still move around.  In Rewa there is a pier for wheelchair users and Gdynia has a playground that includes a sandpit with raised edges and a swing in the form of a basket.

Poland signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2012. About 3.8% of the Polish population can work there now.

“Funds for social benefits, especially for the young generation, need to stop being considered a wasted expenditure. This is smart money. If we can improve someone’s health condition, providing for him in the future will be much less expensive. Moreover, if we can educate these children and help them become independent, we will have a good citizen and taxpayer in the future.” ~ Broda-Wysocki

1 Based on The Polish National Census in 1978.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of polcham

Ha Noi & Dong Nai

In Vietnam, there are two cities where Vietnamese with disabilities can live their utmost potential: Ha Noi and Dong Nai.

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. It has “sweeping boulevards, tree-fringed lakes and ancient pagodas.” Within the city limits is the Daum Kakao Corporation, one of Korea’s leading Internet services providers that has recently opened a centre to train the Vietnamese with disabilities on information technology. A team of volunteers, who are employees of the corporation, will monitor the centre that would be run in cooperation with the Korean International Co-operation Agency (KOICA).  Similar projects have been implemented in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar since 2007.

There are also three disability centers in Hanoi: the Ba Vi Disability Center, the Disabled Children’s Village, and the Centre for International Cooperation and Vietnam Talent Development (CVTD).

Meanwhile, the southeastern province of Vietnam has opened the Dong Nai Sports Center so that its citizens with disabilities can participate in the National Sport Games for People with Disabilities.

Hosted in coordination with the General Department of Sports and Physical Training and the Vietnam Paralympic Association, its goal is to select and train the Vietnamese athletes with physical disabilities for the Asian Paragames in Singapore in December.

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” ~ Scott Hamilton

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of The Unbounded Space Project

Vietnam

Historically, people with disabilities in Vietnam—particularly those living in rural areas—have experienced greatly reduced access to education and reduced employment opportunities.

Just as worse is the confounding statistics on how many of them actually live in the country. In the news article on Viet Nam News, the total is at 6.7 million. And from that figure, about 80,000 have ‘gained vocational skills in jobs that suited their condition, such as spa services, animal husbandry, mushroom cultivation, carpentry, and making clothes and bamboo products’ last 2013.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is 15.3%, however.

But Vietnam is inching closer. It has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last February 5, 2015 and will be implementing initiatives together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Its Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) has also crafted the National Action Plan to Support People with Disabilities for 2012-20. The 250,000 working-age disabled will be provided with vocational training and the companies that would employ them will receive government allowances and incentives.

Children with disabilities in Vietnam could get to study, too, under the Inclusive Education by 2015 plan.

As early as 1998, the Vietnamese National Assembly has passed the National Ordinance on People with Disabilities Act. It resulted in the establishment of the inter-agency National Coordinating Council on Disability (NCCD); barrier-free access code and standards for public construction and transport; disability inclusion provisions in its Vocational Training Law (2006); and implementation of a five-year National Action Plan on disability. The said initiatives brought about the Law of Persons with Disability, which is the first comprehensive national law guaranteeing the rights of people with disabilities.

A partnership has begun to exist between various businesses, non-government organizations (NGOs), and Chambers of Commerce as well. Through a program of the Disabilities Research and Capacity Development Centre (DRD), disabled persons can ride three-wheel motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City for free.

“Disabilities are not going to fade out, in fact the numbers are growing. They are not the barrier to inclusion, society is. We must change environments, attitudes and organisations, and everyone is included in this,” ~ Gemma Thompson

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the AFP News Agency

Moldova

It’s simple. Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Moldova just have to use a perforated sheet of thin plastic and—voila!—their votes will be casted.

With the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Moldova has introduced the “sleeve envelope.” It was piloted and tested in a polling station in Chisinau during the 2010 elections and could let those with visual impairments to vote their chosen political party by counting the openings in the sleeve and then marking on the specially designated space.

The UNDP has sponsored 7,000 voting booths and 10,000 ballot boxes to ensure that the upcoming elections would be more inclusive and up-to-date. Even PWDs in wheelchairs would be able to cast their vote in a special booth.

The UNDP was able to do this through its Moldova Democracy Programme funded by the governments of Sweden and Norway (the electoral equipment amounted to $436,000 all in all!). The programme aims to enhance the capacity of the Parliament and the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) in carrying out its main functions such as in bringing gender and human rights aspects into the formal political process.

As of this writing, the programme has helped compile gender-disaggregated data like number of women and men voters, improve access to elections for persons with disabilities, turn CEC an ISO-certified elections management body, and create a valid voter register.

“I was very happy and proud that as a citizen, I can now really vote secretly, that I can express my opinion without the help of any another person, even the most trusted one.” ~ Nicolae Ciobanu

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the UN Moldova

Windsor

Even through the summer heat, the outdoor city pools in Windsor will be open for persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The Atkinson Pool, Central Pool, Lanspeary Pool, Mic Mac Pool, Remington Booster Pool, and Riverside Centennial Pool would be setting up lifts for them, anyway. There would also be amenities such as heated pools, wade pools, skateboard facilities, walking trails, and soccer pitches, among others that PWDs and non-PWDs alike can enjoy.

Lifts or elevators have been a legal requirement in some countries for some time now. It is followed by this state as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Aside from that, Windsor supports the employment of PWDs by maintaining a website that lists the programs that could assist them. These programs include employment preparation, one-to-one assistance, job coaching and maintenance, job trial and volunteer activity placements and vocational life skills training including mobility training and computer training.

It also has services that protects the rights of PWDs in the area. Among these is the Citizen Advocacy, Easter Seals Ontario – Windsor/Sarnia, and Learning Disabilities Association of Windsor – Essex County – PACE (Parents Advocating – Children Excelling).

“Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.” ~Mother Teresa


Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Kevin McShan