Saturday, January 12, 2013

Persons With Disability Were Unable To Enter The Courtroom


Today, Tbilisi City Hall was considering the appeal of Koba Nadiradze. Koba Nadiradze is a person with disability. His complaint concerns the fine imposed in 2009. The plaintiff was not able to attend the trial as it was held on the sixth floor and it was too complicated for him to get there.

There were other wheelchair users willing to attend the trial, but they were unable to get to the sixth floor as well.

Due to submission the documentation completely, the trial was postponed until the 24th of January.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Students in Support to Social Enterprise

On the July 6th, 2012, our organization with students from Tbilisi State University won the contest under the name “Students in Support to Social Enterprise”. The contest was organized by Eurasia Partnership foundation, The Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia and British Council.
Our organization with the students from Tbilisi State University developed the business plan which means to establish a social enterprise that will produce the Georgian spice salt Zeskho, and where the people with disabilities will be employed. The income of the social enterprise will be used to help the social integration of people with disabilities. The project will be financed by Eurasia Partnership Foundation.
Social enterprise works with the business principle that has a social mission. It is the organization which uses the innovative business approach to solve the public issues. Social enterprise doesn’t works to increase the income for owners and accomplices, as it happens in business; it reinvests the income into the community or business for achieving its goals.

Considering the conditions of disabled people in Georgia today, when their rights are violated and are not realized, when the environment is almost fully inaccessible, when their integration remains as an issue, one of the biggest problem is their employment. Establishing the social enterprise aimed on their employment and realization of their interests is the step forward.
Students’ involvement in this project has a special importance; this has the double advantage for people with disabilities as well as for students and is the additional support in social integration of people with disabilities.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Accessible Youth Services

Organization Accessible Environ-ment For Everyone, with the support of UNICEF and the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs, has implemented the project "Accessible Youth Services". 

To create a healthy society and develop the democracy values, respecting, meeting the rights of persons with disability, their equality, allowing them to engage in social life actively are of great importance. As the physical environment is not adapted to their needs, majority of people with disability can’t move around the public places. This is a huge problem not only for the wheelchair users. Being locked in their houses makes them less visible. Process of precise identification of the problems, people with disability have to cope, becomes a major challenge.

In 2011 the Ministry of sport and youth affairs of Georgia, with the support of UNICEF, created an online database of youth services “E-Services”. This database is still growing and contains huge amount of interesting and useful information for the youth. But the accessibility of these services for the youth with disability remained unclear, because there were no means for the interested person to browse services by their accessibility. Besides, service providers were unable to provide clear information as well, because they had no knowledge and information about the accessibility standards. Usually lack of information is a bigger problem than the lack of funding for adaptation.

Organizing the free time is especially acute problem among the young people with disability, because of the inaccessibility of the entertainment and holiday activities for wheelchair users. Meanwhile leaving the houses and contacting with the society is the main point for psychological rehabilitation of people with disability. The accessibility of services provided via “E-Services” will be a crucial step towards the integration of young people with disability into the society and realization of their rights.

Taking this situation into account, the project “Accessible Youth Services” was worked out. Project was supported by UNICEF and the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs.

All service providers and service providing locations given in a database were checked up within the project. Among 95 service providers across the country, providing 405 services, there are only 8 of them that are accessible to wheelchair users. More detailed monitoring results and the information about accessible services you can get from the video below:

The situation is not good enough, but 30 service providers were defined as simply adaptable. These cases are absolutely possible to make accessible with minimum costs and effort, that will allow everyone to use their services.

Memorandum of understanding between the NGO Movement Accessible Environment for Everyone and LEPL Children and Youth National Center was signed within the project. Memorandum expresses the collaboration between above mentioned parties to consider and respect the rights of persons with disability in the online database of youth services.

An accessibility component was added to the data base and all the accessible services were marked as accessible to wheelchair users.

On December 24 Movement Accessible Environment for Everyone and Children and Youth National Center held the joint final presentation. To display the different youth services and visualize the new portal’s virtual space, showroom was arranged. Guests had an opportunity to engage in various competitive activities going on in the showroom sections of basketball, dancing, painting, photography, literature etc. During the second part of the presentation winners, including young persons with disability, were awarded.

We had to overcome certain complications while implementing the project. These are general complications that the persons with disability, their relatives and organizations working on these issues have to cope in everyday life: low level of public awareness, stereotypes, nihilistic and even negative attitudes towards the persons with disability and their abilities, low level of informedness with regard to their needs. Overcoming these complications is a long-term process and still requires much work to do. Implementing the project “Accessible Youth Services” and support from UNICEF was of great importance in the way to achieve this goal.

Mission and Strategic Directions

The organisations mission is to provide assistance and advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities and to ensure equal access to all public services enjoyed by other members of society.
To advocate for the rights of people with disability, the organisation works on several strategic directions as follows:
  1. Activation and Engagement - situation analysis reveals that neither government nor society at large realizes the scale of the problem. Due to the inaccessibility of the physical and social environment, people with disability are routinely denied the opportunity to be involved in the rhythm of daily life as equal members of society. The fact that disabled people do not have a profile within society gives rise to the false assumption that they have no aspirations in this direction. Nothing could be further from the truth. This misapprehension in turn leads to a passive attitude on behalf of the government towards people with disability, and accounts for the current poor quality of services for disabled people. Accordingly, our organisation assigns priority to making people with disability more active and enabling them to engage in various educational, sport and leisure activities.
  2. Public Awareness Raising - The most powerful instrument in existence today in providing information is the use of media. Over time, along with TV, radio and print media, social media has also gained great significance. ERTAD is actively working to create a Georgian web resource. An additional aim is to make documentary movies and video tutorials.  It is very important to provide each person with disability, as well as the rest of society with information not only about the nature of existing problems, but also about their solutions.
  3. Collaboration for Change - this strand of the organisations strategy is to establish constructive partnerships with both governmental, nongovernmental and donor organisations. As an organisation, Accessible Environment for Everyone, does not simply forward general demands on issues which are central to the lives of disabled people. Our response is to create detailed, realistic and solution orientated project proposals. Experience has taught us that a positive constructive and businesslike approach is much more effective than focussing our approach on the shortcomings of our lives.