Thursday 17 January 2019 | 18:04

Accessibility Week in Minsk started for the third time – now extended and renewed (photos)

28.04.2015  |  Society   |  Piotr Kuchta,  EuroBelarus
Accessibility Week in Minsk started for the third time – now extended and renewed (photos) photo by "EuroBelarus" Information Service

“We want to turn attention to the problem of accessibility as the main problem of disability, as well as the presence of different boundaries – from physical to those in people’s consciousness”.

It is for the third time that Accessibility Week is taking place in Minsk initiated by the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is open for absolutely everyone, organizers say. “From accessibility to equality” is the key motto of the Accessibility Week.

The week opened with Veronica Chaika’s exhibition of posters “Accessibility is -…” in Gallery TUT.BY. When opening the event, Siarhei Drazdouski, the coordinator of the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities noted that “we want to turn attention to the problem of accessibility as the main problem of disability, as well as the presence of different boundaries – from physical to those in people’s consciousness”.

“I.e. this year we won’t only talk about such accessibility as curbs and ramps; we want to talk about the possibility to employ human rights. This year we will have wonderful works of designers, prospective projects of how we can make our lives more comfortable – not only in terms of physical surroundings, but also in terms of attitude so that disability wouldn’t become an insurmountable barrier. We will have long and substantial discussion about how the quality of a person’s competence affects their ability to live independently, remain being a citizen, cooperate with the others; how the law is working in this situation, how persons influence the decisions that are made about them, how they influence the decision about their incapacitation or restoration of this status”, - told Siarhei Drazdouski.

According to him, international experts, “who will bring progressive experience and share what we still have to overcome in the near future, will participate in the Accessibility Week”.

Siarhei Drazdouski noted that this time Accessibility Week got considerable support from its partners: “we have a dozen of them, and together we are organizing symposiums, meetings, regional actions”.

“As to the exhibition of posters, our first event, it is very important for us that complicated terms of accessibility, human rights, social terms were translated into “simple words”, - noted Drazdouski.

In her turn, the coordinator of the Gallery TUT.BY Tatsiana Bembel emphasizes the importance of the “artistic aspect and visual value”. “Of course, I understand that there are numerous aspects that are considered during the Accessibility Week, and artistic is not the main one, but it is very important for me to see that it is also a part of it, since I sincerely believe that artists can go through the language barriers, social, age, and mental barriers. It is very hard to find a short and metaphoric way to explain something, and art comes to our rescue here. Sympathy and emotional perception, as I think, are the basis of the cooperation you are trying to create there”, - Tatsiana Bembel said.

A foreign guest of the Accessibility Week, British Ambassador to Belarus Bruce Bucknell highlights: “Accessibility is not only a physical problem, it’s a problem in thinking, it’s in our heads”. “This is not only the problem of and with resources, but the problem of will, as well as the question of priority”, - he said. According to the Ambassador, to resolve this problem we need “will for justice inside the society”, although in Belarus as compared with Great Britain, a lot still depends on the state.

What is a capacity? What place does it take in our life? Why are people deprived of capacity and what difficulties a person and his family will face in this case? Within the frame of the Accessibility Week participants together with specialist will try to find answers to these and many other questions during the discussion “Capacity”. You can learn even more on the topic by listening to the lecture of a practical expert, lawyer Dzmitry Barteneu “The role of a capacity for independent living of persons with disabilities”.

The key event – Accessibility Forum – will gather together examples of Belarusian initiatives representing successful practices of expansion of accessibility of inclusion to public life and perspective ideas. For example, perspective ideas of transformation of living quarters in accordance with the principles of universal design and successful practices of accessibility in touristic sphere will be presented. If you consider that your team, initiative or organization has something to share – enlist to the presentation and share! To do it – send your application to email info@disright.org till April 20, 2015 and write the topic of presentation. Guests don’t need the registration.

With the support of the general partner РАБОТА.TUT.BY HR-meeting “Experience of companies in employment of persons with disabilities” will be held. If an applicant with disability can compete at free labour market? Are employers ready to employ persons with disabilities? Should there be some bonuses for companies and enterprises employing people with special needs? Business community will share successful practices and examples.

Under the aegis of Accessibility Week Fair of social entrepreneurship will be held in Brest. The event is the example of accessibility to economic independence for different organizations and initiatives which expand possibilities of employment of persons with disabilities.

Symposium “Accessible live-long education for persons with intellectual disabilities” will be organized by “BelAPDIMI” in order to create informational and discussion site for raising awareness of event’s participants in the sphere of education of grown-ups with intellectual disabilities, assistance in development of educational services through joining possibilities and resources of state, public and international organizations.

One of the events will be a public film screening during which the audience can act in an unusual for them role of a blind person. Seeing nothing they will try not only “see the movie” and understand the plot, but also will get an opportunity to offer their own ways of expansion of accessibility for visually impaired and blind people.

Bar associations all over the country will hold days of free legal consultations for persons with disabilities, their families and families raising children with peculiarities of development. The full list of legal consultations will be places at website www.disright.org

Besides legal consultations other events showing activities aimed at accessibility expansion will be held in regions. For now such towns as Zhitkovichi (Gomel Oblast), Kobrin (Brest Oblast), Bobruisk (Mogilev Oblast) have joined the Accessibility Week.

The program of Accessibility Week 2015 will be supplemented with new events, follow the detailed information at the event’s webpage.

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