“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.

Part of the report front cover: The Inclusion Journey - Integrating Persons with Disabilities in the BFSI Sector in India. Supported by J.P. Morgan

Our good friends at Youth4Jobs have teamed up with the BSE Institute Limited, The BFSI Sector Skill Council of India and J.P. Morgan India, to produce a fascinating report on employment of persons with disabilities in the banking and financial sector.

The report – which focuses on employment in the BFSI sector in India – gives an intriguing insight into the current low figures of employment of persons with disabilities. It also analyses what a great opportunity this represents for the companies and the government working in the sector, and gives concrete steps that can be taken to improve the situation.

Whether in India, or elsewhere in the world, this report is a great resources for organisations and individuals in the sector to take meaningful and lasting action.

Download the full report here: The Inclusion Journey: Integrating Persons with Disabilities in the BFSI Sector in India

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.

WHO logo

The WHO QualityRights  initiative is working to improve access to quality mental health services globally and to promote the human rights of people with mental health conditions and psychosocial, intellectual, and cognitive disabilities.  As part of this initiative they are developing a good practice guidance document which will present information on community-based mental health services that promote human rights and the recovery approach.

WHO is seeking help to identify people-centered services that you are aware of, that operate without coercion, and that respond to people’s needs by promoting autonomy, inclusion in the community, and the involvement of people with lived experience at all levels of decision-making. This should include services that support people experiencing acute crises but that do not resort to force, coercion, involuntary admission and treatment or the use of seclusion and restraints. 

By completing the questionnaire in the link at the bottom of this post, you will have the opportunity to submit up to five mental health services that you believe should be considered as a good practice.  By participating, you can contribute to shaping the future of mental health services.

Anybody who is involved in providing a service, has experience of using a service, or knows of a service is welcome to complete the questionnaire.

Deadline for contributions is 30th June 2019.

You can access the consultation survey:

For responses IN ENGLISH: Here

For responses IN SPANISH: Here

For responses IN FRENCH: Here

For responses IN PORTUGUESE: Here

Jovan Slavnić working in the bakery preparing dough on a tray

“I am free and happy here. I would never return to an institution!”

My name is Jovan Slavnić. I am 35 years old and I have lived in a small home community in Novi Sad, Serbia, since 2009. Before I came to Novi Sad I lived in a few institutions, where I ran away several times because everything there was terrible. For example, I was not allowed to spend time with people outside the institution. Every day was the same. I had nothing to do and nothing of my own. When I met Dragica, I fell in love and stopped running away. Instead, I dreamed that I would somehow get out of the institution, go to school, find a job, and marry Dragica. Thanks to the community living programme supported by Milan Petrovic, we are now living together in an apartment with two friends.

As soon as I left the institution, I started going to school. In June 2018, I became a baker and got a job in a bakery. I go to work by bus. I love to spend my free time playing with my dog and having fun with my friends. I also enjoy watching football matches at a nearby coffee shop, because I can cheer loudly.  When I receive my salary, I take out Dragica and my friends to eat cakes.

Read more about the Supported Living in the Community project in their factsheet.

Her Abilities Award logo

Her Abilities Award celebrates women with disabilities who have achieved greatness in their life or field of work. It was launched last year by Light for the World and by Right Livelihood Award winner Yetnebersh Nigussie.

Three incredible women won the award last year and we were honoured with their contributions at the 2019 Zero Project Conference.

Nominations opened again on 8th March 2019 and will be open until 21st June 2019.

The jury for the Her Abilities Award is made up of influential women with and without disabilities from different fields of life; from Mariam Doumbia, of blind musical duo Amadou & Mariam, to Sara Minkara, CEO of Empowerment through Integration (ETI).

Together they will decide on the winners in three categories: Health & Education; Rights and Arts, Culture & Sports.

More information is available on the Her Abilities website www.her-abilities-award.org

Go ahead and make your nomination and good luck to everyone!

Maria Ivașcu, sitting in a wheelchair in a rehearsal room, extends her hands to join them with a young man, who also has his hands extended

“Since I began acting, I have learned that I don’t have to be afraid anymore.”

Fear. Fear kept me home. Fear wouldn’t let me talk to people. Fear prevents many people with disabilities from participating in society.

I am Maria Ivașcu and I am 20 years old. I am in the Alternativ theatre troupe and I support other people with disabilities to overcome fear and integrate into society. I always dreamt that one day I would perform, but never imagined that I would fulfill my dream. I never imagined that I would speak to so many people and explain that I can do the same things they can. I don’t have to stay home just because I use a wheelchair. Since I began acting, I have learned that I don’t have to be afraid anymore. I am a person and I have equal rights.

My life has changed, and the lives of people with disabilities in the communities where we perform have changed as well. Our performances are designed to stop and prevent discrimination against people with disabilities in schools and kindergartens. We show audiences the reality of the situation in their community. We then invite spectators to the stage and they offer solutions to help stop discrimination. Audiences learn that they don’t have to avoid people with disabilities, because we are all the same. We can all learn from each other.

For more information, read the Forum Theatre factsheet.

The Design For All Good Practice logo - A hand outstretched with the letters Da on the palm

You can now submit your project, product or service as Design for All Good Practice to the International Design for All Foundation Awards 2020.

The 10th edition of the International Design for All Foundation Good Practices Awards recognise achievements in the field of design for all, great and small, by governments, businesses, not-for-profit organisations and professionals from all over the world. In so doing, they aim to demonstrate that the implementation of design for all/universal design in any form contributes towards improving quality of life for everyone.

All Good Practices will receive the corresponding “Good Practice” certificate. An International Jury will select the 5 best initiatives that will receive the troops for Best Practice during the ceremony for the Design for All Foundation Awards 2020.

To see if your project is eligible then visit the self-assessment test. If the answer is positive then fill out the form.

YouTube screen shot of Fernando Botelho holding up a laptop and keyboard, in front of a sign "F123"

Please support our good friend Fernando Botelho, President of F123, and his initiative to run computer-building workshops for blind people in multiple countries. Fernando has produced a YouTube video explaining the project and giving us a peek at an example computer that has been put together, all as part of his application to win the Holman Prize.

Good luck Fernando!

Risnawati Utami, smiling, posts her ballot into a ballot box

“Based on our observations, we made recommendations to the government, many of which have been adopted.”

I am Risnawati Utami, from Indonesia. I am 45 years old and have had a physical disability since I was four.

In 1999, Indonesia experienced its first election after Suharto, who served as president for 31 years, stepped down. To ensure the participation of persons with disabilities in the election process, I decided to be an observer in my hometown of Solo, in Central Java. As a result, I found that persons with disabilities who lived in rehabilitation centres were not registered to vote. However, at that time I did not use any standardized tools to observe the election.

When I served as an observer in the presidential election of 2014, it was much more accessible and organized than in 1999. This time I worked with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and together we developed a comprehensive tool to assess the accessibility of elections. This included recruiting 150 people with disabilities to serve as observers. Based on these observations, we made recommendations to the government on how to make the elections more accessible, many of which have been adopted.

In 2018, I was elected to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Committee. One of my commitments as a new member of the committee is to develop a General Comment on Article 29, which sets out the framework for the participation of persons with disabilities in political life. Of course, to draft the comment I plan to use my personal experience serving as an election observer.

Read more about the IFES Election Access Observation Toolkit in their factsheet.