Advisory Board of the Elected Office for Disabled People Fund

Read Kirsten Hearns Life Story

Kirsten Hearn, who is partially sighted and who was able to run for elections thanks to the Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund, is an elected Councillor at the Haringey Council.

For her it is clear that “as a blind person, there are many barriers put up to stop me from participating in society. This is reflected in how political parties organize and how would-be politicians campaign. Canvassing on the doorsteps and streets is expected of candidates, but this is not easy to do if you are disabled. In order to run a good campaign, I must keep abreast of local issues and research policy areas so I can say what I will do when I am elected. This is hard when information is very inaccessible. If I am to have an equal chance of being nominated and of participating as a candidate, this is the kind of support I need.”

Find out more about the UK’s Access to Elected Office for Disabled People Fund, a Zero Project Innovative Policy 2015, at:

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Bürgerforum „Eine Mitte für Alle“ im Regierungsprogramm!

Unser Innovative Practice 2014: das Bürgerforum „Eine Mitte für Alle“, wurde in das Regierungsprogramm 2015-2020 von der Hamburger SPD und Grüne aufgenommen: “Die Erfahrungen, die in Mitte Altona im Prozess ‚Eine Mitte für Alle‘ gemacht wurden, bilden eine weiterzuentwickelnde Grundlage einer zukünftigen inklusiven Stadtentwicklung”, so die Zusage im Koalitionsvertrag (S.55).

Das Zero Project Team gratuliert!!

Mehr Informationen findet ihr auf unserer Webseite (in Englisch):

election access Logo by Zero

IFES launches officially their revamped website

In February 2015, we honoured the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and their work to strengthening electoral systems to be inclusive and accessible with our Innovative Practice  award. Now IFES revamped their website,, which is one of the world’s finest resource on the global political rights of persons with disabilities: it’s a fantastic one-stop-shop for advocates and government officials to learn about election laws, global best practices and assistive devices.

Check it out: and read more about IFES’s work:

Gerda Stöllnberger – Life Story

Wednesday is our LifeStory Day!

Recently, Gerda Stöllnberger concluded Upper Austria’s peer counsellor qualification course, becoming a professional peer counsellor with psychiatric experience. “With the peer counselling qualification, I have become more confident and I have learned to better delimit myself,” says Ms. Stöllnberger. “During the qualification course I got to know many interesting people. As a peer counsellor with psychiatric experience, I would like to encourage people with psychiatric problems to engage openly with their problems, and I want to accompany them with compassion. Ideally, I hope to exercise my skills as a peer counsellor on a full-time basis.”

Find out more about the Upper Austria’s approval of Peer counselling as a profession, a Zero Project Innovative Policy 2015, at:


Picture by COE

The right to education is a right to inclusive education.

The Zero Project will concentrate on best practice and policy advancing inclusive education. Our call for nominations will be launched around


June 2015, watch out for it!!


To warm up, there are some interesting audio clips produced by the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights with experiences shared by persons with disabilities themselves on the right to education, including Maryanne Diamond, Markku Jokkinen, and Mia Farah. Find all statements on our last post.

In addition, the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe, dedicated his most recent comment to the topic: Inclusive education vital for social cohesion in diverse societies.


Life Story — Personal Assistance Budget, Sweden

Read the life story of Adolf Ratzka

Dr. Adolf Ratzka encountered his disability as a result of contracting polio at the age of 17, and he has had to rely on personal assistance ever since. He imported the Independent Living movement to Sweden from the United States and founded the Stockholm Cooperative for Independent Living, which was behind the introduction of the Swedish law that established the right to a personal assistance budget.

Dr. Ratzka says: “My assistants enable me to work. One of their most important functions is to accompany me on trips as head of the Independent Living Institute. Since my wife has her own work – she is an occupational therapist – we only travel together on vacations. And then too, I take an assistant along, since I want to have the same role within the family that I would have had without my disability. Money for the costs of the accompanying assistant’s airline tickets, hotel room, meals, etc., is part of the monthly payment from the Social Insurance Fund. Thus, I do not have to apply and fight for such expenses every time I travel.”

Find out more about the Swedish law that established the right to a personal assistance budget at:



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New audio clips on the right to education

For the first time the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) published short audio clips with experiences shared by persons with disabilities themselves on the right to education. These are some of the interviewed:

Maryanne Diamond, IDA Chair

Markku Jokinen, Honorary President, World Federation of the Deaf

Mia Farah, Self-advocate, Inclusion International

Video transcripts are also available at

The audio clip were produced during the General Day of Discussion on the right to education for persons with disabilities at which the Zero Project team was participating:

Life Story of Dumitrita, Moldova

Life Story of Dumitriṭa of Moldova

“The 5 years I spent in an institution for children with disabilities in Moldova felt like an eternity. My name is Dumitria, I am a 14-year-old girl with disabilities and learning difficulties.

Support services didn’t exist where I lived and the mainstream school would not accept me. My family could not afford the education and care I needed so I was placed in an institution for children with disabilities.

This place was far from home which made family visits very difficult. In the institution I missed very much the love and care of my parents and sister. Being reunited with my family – thanks to Lumos’ support – was a dream come true.  For 2 years, I’ve been studying at the mainstream school close to my home. I feel part of the community. I am very happy living with my family who love and support me. I like my new school, I am doing well here and my friends and teachers understand me.

I am an advocate for inclusive education in our school’s participation group and speak out whenever I can. My dream is that all children with disabilities in Moldova can live with their families. I want to help other children to return home and give them confidence and hope for a better future.”


Find more details about this Innovative Practice on our website.