Luis Venialbo reading braille

I finally exercised my constitutional right for a secret vote

My name is Luis Venialbo. I am 65 years old and 35 years ago I completely lost my vision when a retinitis pigmentosa was manifested in my eyes. This changed my life in Paraguay drastically, but this was not an obstacle and I decided to become a teacher for blind students. Later in my life, I graduated as a lawyer and became a leader in the disability sector. This was possible thanks to reasonable adjustments, perseverance in the face of difficulties and the support of my family, mainly that of my wife whose eyes complemented my tenacity.

Notwithstanding a wonderful relationship based of respect and love, we very often have different opinions, particularly when it comes to politics. Due to the lack of accessibility to exercise my right to vote without assistance, I always depended on her support to mark and cast the ballot. But even trusting my wife I always asked myself “will she have marked the candidate I chose?” I never had the certainty that my vote was for my preferred candidate.

In 2015, thanks to reforms implemented under the assistance of the Inclusive Elections Project, I was able to use braille ballots for the first time. I finally exercised my constitutional right for a secret vote, with the certainty of having voted for the candidate of my preference. This experience was replicated in the general elections of 2018.

Find out more about the Inclusive Elections Project in Paraguay by reading the factsheet.

A group photo of 18 smiling people in front of a Zero Project Impact Transfer banner

Most of you probably know by now what it means to be awarded by the Zero Project. But what you might not know is there are other exciting opportunities, and you don’t necessarily have to be an awardee to benefit!

Zero Project Impact Transfer

Across the last two years we have teamed up with our good friends at Ashoka to run the Zero Project Impact Transfer. Each year, at least 10 projects are selected from the nominations to take part in an acceleration programme to prepare their project to be replicated in other countries or contexts. This includes a training and mentoring programme with experts from the business and philanthropic worlds, plus a 2-day boot camp in Vienna, Austria shortly before the Zero Project Conference. Successes so far include the Museum of Modern Art in New York delivering training to representatives from over 20 museums at workshops in Vienna and Berlin, and Enable India sharing their information sharing service in Ethiopia by teaming up with the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development.

Zero Project in Latin America with Fundación Descúbreme

Tabled with computers and leaflets, with people discussing across

The Zero Project Exhibition

We are excited to embark on a new adventure with our great partners at Fundación Descúbreme in Chile. This project is aiming to increase the impact of the Zero Project in Latin America. Fundación Descúbreme will work with the Zero Project throughout 2019 through the nomination and selection process and in 2020 will co-host a Zero Project conference in Santiago, Chile. There are many ways that nominated projects may benefit, such as opportunities to present and exhibit their work.

Zero Project Conference – Presentations and exhibitions

Each year we base the conference schedule around the awardees, who present their innovative models that support persons with disabilities. But you may not know that we also invite all projects that made it to the shortlist to take part in the conference! Depending on the innovation, the topic and the stage of the projects, we choose a number of those from the shortlist to take part in conference in other ways such as the exhibition or presenting in sessions.

So go ahead and make your nomination! We look forward to hearing from you!

Philippa-Anne Dewhirst sitting in front of a lake with trees in the background

“Now I have a way to explain what most people see as unsettling or bad.”

At the age of 24, I sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car crash. This left my memory severely impaired and resulted in co-ordination difficulties when tired as well as aphasia – which is a communication disorder. In January 2018, I was helping my sister with my 13-year-old nephew. He has ADHD and ODD and can get out of control and become extremely strong and difficult to manage.

On this day he tried to attack both me and my sister. This led to me safely pinning him to the floor until he calmed down. Once he appeared settled we thought the episode was over, but he phoned his social worker and accused me of trying to harm him. The police arrived and explained that I would have to give a statement.

I contacted the number on my Headway ID card and spoke to a solicitor about what had happened, and he offered to attend the police station with me. I also presented my ID card to the police officers so they understood that I might struggle to answer their questions and so they would be prepared to give me time to find the right words. They investigated and found no evidence of any form of wrong doing, and I was cleared of the charge against me.

It makes me feel secure knowing that thanks to the Headway ID card I have a way to explain what most people see as unsettling, bad, or bizarre behaviour.

You can read more about the Headway Brain Injury ID Card in their factsheet.

 

Banner: call for nominations 2020. Topic: Education #ZeroCall19

We are excited to announce that the 2020 call for nominations is now open!

This year we are looking at Education. We are seeking nominations for Innovative Policies and Innovative Practices that help improve the lives of persons with disabilities.

Up to 80 projects will be selected to present their innovations at the annual Zero Project Conference at the United Nations in Vienna, where they will be joined by more than 600 experts and leaders from over 80 countries. Awarded projects will also be featured in the annual Zero Project Report and will be shared via social media throughout 2020.

We are looking for projects that have shown a measurable impact on the lives of people with disabilities. Not only that, we are looking for projects that are innovative and have the potential to be replicated in other regions or contexts.

Nominations are accepted through the nomination database www.zeroproject.org/nomination2020. Here you will find a nomination introduction video, a Q&A document, plus a “Themes” document, telling you which Education sub-topics we are accepting nominations on.

And if you can’t find what you are looking for, then contact us directly at office@zeroproject.org.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Good luck!

 

Two ladies and two men pose with a certificate for a photograph with the Zero Project logo in the background

We are excited to announce that the call for nominations on the topic of Education for persons with disabilities will open next week!

Once again, we will be looking for Innovative Practices and Innovative Policies that support persons with disabilities, on this year’s topic of Education. Projects will be selected from around the world and between 60 and 80 winners will be invited to present their models at the Annual Zero Project Conference at the United Nations in Vienna. In addition, any project that makes it through to the larger shortlist will also be invited to take part in the conference. Last year more than 600 experts and leaders from more than 80 countries gathered in Vienna for this special event.

A large open conference room full with people

More than 600 experts from 83 countries leaders attended the 2019 Zero Project Conference

Winning projects will also be featured in the annual Zero Project report and will be promoted via the Zero Project website and social media.

This year’s topic is education, which covers a range of sub-topics including primary and secondary schools, universities, vocational certification, pre-school and early childhood intervention and early childhood diagnosis. We will also be looking at non-formal types of education such as through dance, music, sport, gamification, apps, community-based education programs, numeracy, literacy and adult education.

We will publish a full list of our education “themes” in a dedicated document next week.

So get thinking! Should your project, program, product, service or policy be celebrated for its achievements? Should it be shared with others who can learn from its success? We definitely want to hear from you!

Four experts sitting on a podium presenting

More than 40 panel discussions, forums and special events took place at the 2019 conference

Projects must be innovative, at least in the context or region they are working. Not only that, they must also show measurable results for persons with disabilities and have potential to be scaled or replicated.

Nominations will take place via our online platform. Next week we will release more details of how to make a nomination and what kind of projects we are looking for.

Watch this space…

“Volunteering can be a great experience, especially for people with a physical disability.”

My name is Erwin Buchberger and I am a wheelchair user. I need personal assistance for my daily life. I enjoy travelling and I am always looking for new adventures. As soon as I heard about the possibility to volunteer abroad, I wanted to do it.

With WeltWegWeiser we found an ideal project, working in an integrative school in Latvia, where some pupils are disabled. I especially enjoyed looking after the children and coming up with ideas for after-school activities. These pupils didn’t speak much English. Instead, we used creativity and our hands communicating from heart to heart.

You have to cope with life in an unfamiliar environment. And I succeeded, which was great for my self-confidence. It also changed the way I see the world.

After returning home, I was invited to promote inclusive voluntary services on behalf of WeltWegWeiser. Volunteering can be a great experience, especially for people with a physical disability, who often have to fight to be included in society. Getting involved in social projects abroad is a chance to show that you can give something back and change society’s perception of people with disabilities.

Read the WeltWegWeiser factsheet to find out more about their inclusive international volunteering programme.

Zero Project Logo

“Even simple things like how to lace my shoes make a big difference to me.”

My name is Sadek and I am a 23-year-old university student studying accounting. Since I started the ETI programme I have learned many things, and the programme has helped me to gain more independence and self-confidence. I am very motivated by the programme, especially by the music classes and the social literacy. I’ve learned how to interact more with others and how to communicate better. Even such simple things as how to lace my shoes has made a difference in my life.

I am grateful for the ETI staff, who are providing all of these experiences, including the chance to meet new people and to make new friends. For me, they represent a family working together for the same goal – to promote the social integration of young people and children with disabilities.

Read the ETI factsheet to find out more about the programme.

Photo of Dana, a beneficiary of the Bizchut programme

“I was the first person with a disability in Israel to have my guardian removed.”

My name is Dana, and I am a 42-year-old resident of Haifa who was born with cerebral palsy. After my parents died I lived by myself, during which time I spent too much money and got into financial trouble. As a result, my brother was appointed my guardian, and then I was transferred to a large guardianship agency that had full control over all my finances.

I wanted to take the university entrance exams, to get a dog, to learn to drive. My guardian said no to all of these things because it was “a waste of money.” Then I met Yotam from Bizchut, who agreed to help me replace my guardian with someone who would let me make decisions on my own and would give me the support I really need. That’s when we found Yehuda, an accountant. The court cancelled my guardian and appointed Yehuda instead. Now I talk to him before I make decisions about money. We have made a financial plan, and I even have a savings account. What’s more, I have taken the university entrance exams, I now have a dog, and I am going to start learning to drive!

Life is completely different without others making decisions for me. I am proud to be the first person with a disability in Israel to have my guardian removed and to be given a decision-making supporter.

You can read more about the Bizchut programme in this factsheet.

“I started writing reviews on my blog of the movies I saw using the GRETA app.”

My name is Barbara, and I am a 59-year-old advocate of accessible cinema in Germany. I was born with a 7 per cent sight capacity, which is now just 2 per cent. Growing up, I would go to the movies regularly. What I love about the cinema is how much fun it is to sit in a dark hall focused on what is happening on the screen, laughing with the other moviegoers and being carried away by the sounds. I love all sorts of movies: art-house independent films, blockbusters, comedies. Funny scenes, moving stories, and beautiful dialogue are what I enjoy most.

Since using the GRETA app, going to the movies is now 100 per cent more fun! I am fully autonomous, meaning I can easily understand everything happening on the screen with my smartphone. I just check which movies have been added to the GRETA platform, download the free audio description of the film I want to see, and go to any cinema that is showing it. It is as simple as it sounds!

Being fully included in the cinema world has been life-changing. I have started writing reviews on my blog of the movies I have seen, and I have become a strong advocate for accessible cinema through the organization that I founded, Kinoblindgänger (“blind moviegoer”).

Read the GRETA factsheet to find out more about the app.

Photo of John Clarke in a blue Enable Scotland T-Shirt

“As part of #ENABLEtheVote, I went to Westminster and spoke in front of Members of Parliament!”

ACE is an Active Community of Empowered People who have learning disabilities, and we meet in communities across Scotland every month. Through ACE I took part in #ENABLEtheVote.

We started #ENABLEtheVote because many ACE members had never voted before and this was something we wanted to change. Our voices matter and they should be heard in local and national elections.

Before #ENABLEtheVote I had voted in an election, but when I did I would just glance at the paper and mark any of them. I never really understood that each choice offered something different, or that my vote would actually have an impact. Noone had ever talked to me about voting before. But all that has changed.

As part of #ENABLEtheVote, I went to Westminster and spoke in front of Members of Parliament. I told them that I have a learning disability and that nonetheless I can make a difference. I can say what needs to be said and make things change. They listened, and they took me seriously. They even asked if they could use my speech as evidence in a debate the next day.

Everybody in society has needs, and it is important that everyone’s needs are met. Life with a learning disability isn’t easy, but with the help of organizations like ENABLE Scotland, people like me can make things better.

You can read more about #ENABLEtheVote in their factsheet.