VOLOZHIN WITHOUT BARRIERS
Increasing Local Capacities for Provision of Social and Recreational Services for People with Disabilities
Social services in Volozhin district will become more accessible to people with disabilities, while comfortable facilities for their recreation will appear in Nalibokskaya puscha, a dense forest located in the region, including an environmental and educational trail easily accessible to all potential visitors. And in the town of Volozhin, the first Belarusian hostel for people with disabilities will open.
- Interakcia Foundation is the project's partner
- Budget: € 1 111 521, EU's contribution – € 999 900 (90% of total)
- Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development Programme (NSA&LA)
- Implementation period: October 2015 – October 2018
- Location: Volozhin and Volozhin district, Minsk region, central Belarus
IMPORTANCE OF THE PROJECT
Today, around 2100 people with disabilities live in Volozhin district. Just like in other Belarusian districts, these people’s needs in social and recreational services are treated with insufficient attention. And within the framework of a regional accessibility program for 2011-2015, rampants were made for only 5 buildings: two schools, a bus station, and two clinics.
However, in 2007, a local center for social services opened in Volozhin; it now also hosts a day center for people with disabilities where they can improve their labor skills, do arts and crafts.
Nevertheles, there is still no district-wide strategy for social integration of people with disabilities that would include not only labor-related measures but also outline directions for the development of social and recreational services. This problem is common for all Belarusian regions. Therefore, this project will:
- Give an example of creating and developing social and recreational services accessible to everyone.
- Demonstrate an example of successful cooperation between local authorities, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and international actors in the field of social integration.
- Foster the understanding of social integration as a process requiring both good working and leisure facilities for people with disabilities.
- Until the middle of 2016, around 200 buildings where social and recreational services are provided (cafes, post offices, railway stations, etc.) will be evaluated in order to gauge their accessibility to people with disabilities. The evaluation will be performed by a team composed of local officials, experts, journalists, and local volunteers that will receive special training.
The results of the accessibility monitoring will inform a unified Plan of activities for improving the infrastructure and quality of social and recreational services provided for people with disabilities in Volozhin district. The Plan will be prepared by a working group that will include members of the municipality, experts, and representatives of non-state organizations.
- Until 2018, up to 30 buildings where social and recreational services are offered will be adapted in accordance with the needs of people with disabilities.
- In 2018, a tourist information and recreation center for people with disabilities will open in Volozhin. The center will consist of: a hostel (for 20 guests), a conference hall with equipment for people with visual and hearing impairments, an information point. Moreover, people with disabilities will be able to work at the information point. It will be the first tourist information and recreation center of such kind in Belarus.
- The tourist information and recreation center will open on the same day with Social Integration Festival, which is expected to be attended by around 500 people. The event’s program will be prepared by 60 participants of an inclusive camp for people with and without disabilities; these participants will also become the festival’s volunteers.
- At the end of 2017 or at the beginning of 2018, tourists coming to the hostel will be able to enjoy an environmental trail through Nalibokskaya pusha, an old dense forest in Minsk region, which will meet the needs of people with disabilities. The trail and the tourist center will become a part of the brand Accessible Volozhin. It will include several routes and travel packages specially designed for people with disabilities. Accessible Volozhin will be presented during a promo tour and at travel exhibitions in Minsk.
In order to disseminate the accessibility principles, a contest among the owners of farmsteads from Volozhin district will be organized. Five winners will receive grants to make their farmsteads more comfortable for people with disabilities. Moreover, providers of social and recreational services will have a chance to attend special trainings where they will be able to learn how to make products and services accessible.
ACHIEVED RESULTS (UP TO THE MOMENT)
- In December 2015, the project was officially presented in Volozhin; the event was attended by owners of several farmsteads in Volozhin district and some representatives of Belarusian travel agencies interested in developing recreational services for people with disabilities. Learn more
- In February 2016, officials from Volozhin government and local agencies providing communal services, local journalists, and owners of some farmsteads attended a special training where they learned how to evaluate the level of accessibility for different types of buildings and constructions. The participants of the training became volunteers who are now evaluating around 170 objects in Volozhin and Volozhin district, including 18 farmsteads. The volunteers is coordinated by experts from the Belarusian Association of People with Disabilities. Learn more
- In March — August 2016 experts held a complete accessibility monitoring of public buildings in Volozhin district. In overall 280 infrastructural objects were inspected. The results of the monitoring will be taken into account by drawing up the Plan of activities for improving the infrastructure and quality of social and recreational services, and about 30 buildings will be reconstructed in future. Learn more
PARTNERS IN THE PROJECT
- Volozhin District Executive Committee (lead partner)
- Public Association Belarusian Association of People with Disabilities
- Belarusian Public Association Country Escape
To increase the capacity of and support Volozhin district authorities, non-state organizations, and other providers of social and recreation services in making Volozhin an exemplary district where social and recreational services are accessible to people with disabilities and where social inclusion is encouraged and practiced.
- To promote inclusive society in Belarus.
- To enhance living standards of people with disabilities in Belarus.
- To improve local governance in the sphere of provision of social and recreational services for people with disabilities in Belarus.
ABOUT NON-STATE ACTORS AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES IN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
The overall objective of the Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development Program is to support operations aiming at promoting an inclusive and empowered society in partner countries in order to:
(a) benefit populations out of reach of mainstream services and resources and excluded from policy making processes;
(b) strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations and local authorities, with a view to facilitating their participation in defining and implementing poverty reduction and sustainable development strategies;
(c) facilitate interaction between state and non-state actors in different contexts and support an increased role for local authorities in decentralisation processes.
CONTACTS AND MORE INFORMATION
Irina Ivanova, Project Manager:
+ 375 25 983 29 59 (mobile); + 375 17 334 24 76; firstname.lastname@example.org
Svetlana Poddubnaya, PR Manager
+375 29 383 59 83 (mob.); +375 17 280 13 30; email@example.com