State representatives don’t find it necessary to visit an event open for everyone despite the invitation to cooperation, and that indicates what kind of dialog we have.
Accessibility Forum that opened on April 28 with a dozen of different initiatives is a traditional parade of initiatives within the frames of the Accessibility Forum aimed at improving the quality of life of dozens of people with disabilities.
Everything seems to be good but for one snag, notes Siarhei Drazdouski, the coordinator of the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in the talk with the “EuroBelarus” Information Service. “I should say that all these initiatives usually proceed from civil society. How much support do they get from the state? Unfortunately, in half the cases these initiatives don’t get further strengthening, development, and institutionalization. They remain wonderful examples of success and that’s it. As a rule, civil society on its own finds means to realize these projects”, - Siarhei Drazdouski says.
According to him, “we would be happy if this Forum would have been attended by any officials and would have told our vision of the accessibility program and barrier-free environment”.
“If we would consider the format of discussion of the barrier-free environment that we have now it is absolutely inacceptable. The state suggests its ideas, listens to our remarks and basically disregards them in the future. That is probably why we don’t have anyone from the state officials there. I think that this is an indicator of a dialog – an absolutely open Forum that everyone can visit, though, as we can see, the state doesn’t find it necessary to visit it and tell people what are officials doing in this sphere”.
Yauheni Shauko, the chair of the “Republican Association of wheelchair-bound disabled”, agrees with Siarhei Drazdouski:
“Projects can be realized without participation of the state – and in most cases this is what happens; however, if the state was helping, we would have some kind of basis, whereas now we have a chess board with chess pieces at its different angles”.
“We would have had a stronger effect and more initiatives that would become more interesting. As anyway, without state it is impossible to do something neither in Belarus nor elsewhere in the world. If the state would take part in such projects, it would become clear that it is also important for it, whereas now we are talking about our problems, the state agrees with their presence, but does nothing about them. And we would like to see steps towards us, at least one. And that... We have approval, but not participation and no inclusion. We hear words of support and understanding, but talking is one thing, but actions peak louder”, - emphasizes Yauheni Shauko.