• Українською
  • Meeting with leadership of European Disability Forum held at Government House
    The Government Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, posted 10 March 2023 12:13

    State Secretary of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Oleksandr Yarema and Government Commissioner for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Tetiana Barantsova met with EDF Director Catherine Naughton and CBM Project Development Officer Heimo Duttle, visiting Ukraine on March 7-10.

    Oleksandr Yarema thanked for the support that Ukrainians felt from international organisations and the assistance they provided to persons with disabilities, both in Ukraine and abroad. During the period of martial law, persons with disabilities need even more attention and support, as the war makes many everyday things more difficult.

    The State Secretary noted the role of civil society in the Government’s decision-making process, which, in particular, contributed to the creation of additional conditions for self-realisation of persons with disabilities.

    “Cooperation with civil society and involvement of civil society representatives in the decision-making process is very important for the Government,” said Oleksandr Yarema. “The Government sees civil society as a serious partner. In particular, an action plan has recently been adopted to implement the strategy for promoting the development of civil society. One of the important elements of this plan is the development of social services and involvement of civil society organisations in the provision of such services.”

    Oleksandr Yarema noted Tetiana Barantsova’s significant contribution to establishing cooperation between the Government and civil society on issues related to persons with disabilities.

    For her part, Catherine Naughton emphasised the courage of Ukrainians, their self-organisation, and mutual support.

    “You have very powerful organisations that help people,” she said, noting the programmes designed to encourage Ukrainians to return to Ukraine. According to Catherine Naughton, the positive experience of NGOs, which was shared at the Vinnytsia forum, deserves particular attention.

    According to Tetiana Barantsova, NGOs of persons with disabilities work closely with both the Government Commissioner’s office and local authorities. This allows them to jointly address many current issues.

    For reference

    The European Disability Forum (EDF) is an umbrella organisation of persons with disabilities that brings together more than 100 disability organisations across Europe and defends the interests of over 100 million persons with disabilities. More information about the organisation is available at https://www.edf-feph.org/.

    Since March 2022, in response to the new challenges faced by Ukrainians with disabilities due to russia’s full-scale invasion, EDF and its partners have launched a broad programme to support Ukrainians with disabilities, organisations representing their interests, and the reform process in Ukraine. The programme is being implemented together with the Christian Blind Mission (CBM International – https://www.cbm.org/), which has over 100 years of professional experience working to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities in countries in crisis.

    The programme is aimed at supporting persons with disabilities in Ukraine, as well as those who have left Ukraine and are living in neighbouring countries, including Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, and Moldova. The main objectives of the work are to provide direct support to people, advocate for the mainstreaming of disability in humanitarian work, and build the capacity of organisations of persons with disabilities.

    EDF members and partners of the programme in Ukraine are the National Assembly of Persons with Disabilities of Ukraine and the League of the Strong NGO.

    The programme currently covers more than 30,000 people. As of January 2023, disaggregated data was collected on 7,563 people (55% of them are persons with disabilities, 53% are women, and 23% are children). The League of the Strong alone, in its joint work with EDF, was able to provide assistance to almost 11,000 persons with disabilities.

    From March 7 to 10, EDF Director Catherine Naughton and CBM Project Development Officer Heimo Duttle are conducting a monitoring visit to Ukraine, meeting with partner organisations, international organisations, state and local authorities, and individual activists of the disabled people’s movement. The main purpose of the visit is not only to monitor the progress of the programme, but also to form a general understanding of the situation, current challenges and further steps to respond as part of the planned next phase of long-term support.

    Meeting with leadership of European Disability Forum held at Government House Meeting with leadership of European Disability Forum held at Government House Meeting with leadership of European Disability Forum held at Government House