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.
- By 2018, up to 30 buildings where social and recreational services are offered will be adapted in accordance with the needs of people with disabilities. 20 building will be improved till the end of the 2017.
- The outputs of the investigation of around 300 infrastructural objects, that took place in Volozhin district from March to August 2016, will lay the basis for the Plan of activities for improving the infrastructure and quality of social and recreational services provided for people with disabilities in Volozhin district. Learn more
- A survey among all people with disabilities residing in Volozhin district will be finised till the end of September 2017. This will help to define the problem points in the city environment which people from this social group face daily, and find the solution. The results will lay the basis for the Plan of activities for improving the infrastructure and quality of social and recreational services.
- A tourist information and recreational center for people with disabilities will open in 2018. 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.
- On summer 2017, an environmental trail through Nalibokskaya pusha for disable people will be finally constructed. There will be banks, abrors and informational boards along the trail. 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.
- The tourist information and recreation center will open on the same time with Social Integration Festival, which is expected to be attended by around 1000 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.
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 300 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
- On July 21-26th participants of the project Volozhin without Barriers went on an educational tour to Netherlands. It was devoted to inclusive tourism: members of the group learnt how Dutch organizations enable travel and recreation business to be more responsive for people with disabilities. Learn more
- In March — August 2016 experts held a complete accessibility monitoring of public buildings in Volozhin district. About 300 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. Large-scale work of specialists has received a high professional asessement, and 200-pages document is clear for either builder or project owner. Learn more
- Bus for transportation people with disabilities who live in back lands of Valožyn District have been bought in November 2016. It has 14 seats and special space for wheelchair users.
- Training for providers of social and recreational services took place in Volozhin district in March 2017. The participants learnt to create unique services and products. Training for Middle and senior management was devoted to bringing in the region tourists with disabilities. 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
By 2018, up to 30 buildings where social and recreational services are offered will be adapted in accordance with the needs of people with disabilities. 20 building will be improved till the end of the 2017.