The SozialMarie logo

The 15th annual call for SozialMarie is open! Prizes are awarded for projects that design and implement socially innovative solutions to societal problems. Calls are welcome from Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Solvenia.

15 projects will be awarded, with the top three projects receiving prize money of €15,000, €10,000 and €5,000 and an additional twelve receiving €2,000 each.

The application process closes on 22nd January 2019. Find out more by visiting the SozialMarie website.

Kahane Foundation Logo

The Kahane Foundation was founded in 1991 by the late Karl Kahane as an independent, privately funded, non-political and non-religious charitable foundation. Karl Kahane considered it his duty to be on the side of the weak and to dedicate part of the proceeds from the family companies to non-for-profit organizations.

The application period for funding in 2019 is now underway and applications are being welcomed on the topics of Accessibility, Social Mobility and Migration/Integration. Applications are being sought for projects in Europe and MENAT (Middle East, North Africa and Turkey).

The deadline for First-Step applications is on 14th December 2018. For more information on eligibility, topics and timescales visit the Kahane Foundation website.

Disability:IN logo

Nominations for the 2019 Disability:IN Inclusion Awards are now open!

Each year, Disability:In recognises companies dedicated to advancing disability inclusion in the workplace. Nominations are now open for Employer of the Year, Employer Resource/Business Resource Group of the Year, Supplier of the Year along with other awards. If you believe your company is truly inclusive, submit a nomination!

Deadline is Friday 30th November 2018. Visit the Disability:IN website for more information.

Disability:IN logo

Applications now Open for the Mentorship Exchange and Talent Accelerator

The Disability:IN Mentorship Exchange is a six-month career mentoring opportunity for college students and recent graduates with disabilities, including veterans. Through the Mentoring Program, mentees benefit from a network of business connections.

The benefits include meeting with corporate executive mentor at least twice a month to review your resume and set career goals. You would also have the opportunity to attend monthly webinars to learn more about the transition from school to work.

The Disability:IN Talent Accelerator is an intensive career development opportunity that takes place during the Disability:IN Annual Conference. During the Talent Accelerator, accepted candidates, or NextGen Leader participate in interview and skill building activities.

The benefits of the accelerator include pre-academy prep calls, matchmaking events with over 100 corporate representatives, the possibility to interview on-site with recruiters from top corporations and to connect with NextGen Leaders, NextGen Alumni and representatives from Fortune 500 companies.

Find out more by going to the Mentorship Exchange and Talent Accelerator flyers.

Zero Project Logo

How Assistive Tech is Breaking Communication Barriers for Children with Cerebral Palsy

It is important to recognize the health and wellness disparities that some children with disabilities face. Cerebral palsy is one of the most common of all childhood disabilities and malpractice birth injuries, and it can cause a number of complications. Among these, an important one is difficulty communicating. This can prevent a child from getting good healthcare, from socializing with peers, and from learning. Assistive technology is changing how these children communicate to help them live happier, healthier lives.

Assistive Technology for Cerebral Palsy

Assistive technology is any device, equipment, or software that helps someone perform an activity. For instance, a wheelchair or walker is an example of simple assistive technology that can help a child with cerebral palsy get from one place to another. Technology that helps with eating, breathing, using pens and pencils, reading, writing, and communicating with others is considered assistive technology and has the potential to improve communication, academic performance, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, and overall health.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Also known as AAC, augmentative and alternative communication refers to any way of communicating other than verbally speaking. AAC can be low-tech, including sign language or using pictures, but newer technologies are making AAC more practical, faster, and easier for children with physical disabilities like cerebral palsy communicate their needs and emotions:

  • Electronic communication boards and tablets help children with limited fine motor skills or speech use pictures, letters, and words on a screen to communicate.
  • Speech-generating devices use the same types of cues as communication boards but also translate them into verbal speech that other people can easily understand.
  • Eye-tracking devices help even the most severely disabled children communicate. Using just eye movements a child can select images, letters, and words to speak with others.
  • Hearing aids are always advancing technologically and can help children with cerebral palsy that have resulting hearing impairments. A cochlear implant can even bypass damaged components of the ear, improving hearing.

Benefits of Communication and Assistive Technologies

A child with cerebral palsy may have a whole range of complications, from mobility limitations to difficulty eating and breathing, to behavioral disorders. Communication aids are essential for many of these children to maintain good health as well as overall well-being. At the most basic level if they cannot communicate pain, symptoms, hunger, difficulty breathing, or thirst, their health suffers. Better communication means better health.

Beyond their basic health needs, being able to communicate allows children to participate more fully in all areas of life from school and sports to family conversations. Improving communication increases self-confidence, independence, opportunities, social skills, and so much more. Assistive technology is always evolving, and it has become an important part of the lives of nearly all children with cerebral palsy.

Thanks to our friends around the world for providing the text for this this blog.

WITSA Logo and title of paper

SourceAmerica and the World Information Technology Services Alliance have announced the release of their joint paper ‘ICT Leadership in Inclusive Employment of Persons with Disabilities: An Economic and Social Imperative‘.

As Information and Communications Technology touches nearly all aspects of human life, the technology sector can play a vital role in addressing the persistent unemployment of persons with disabilities. The paper and accompanying policy recommendations address the social and economic imperatives of employment of persons with disabilities and lay out a roadmap for the ICT sector to grow as leaders in supporting the employment of persons with disabilities.

Please share this paper and the accompanying press release with your networks and partners.

WACA certificate

The first independent quality seal in Austria for barrier-free websites has been announced. From now on, the  Österreichische Computer Gesellschaft (OCG) (Austrian Computer Society) can award a seal to organisations that comply with detailed accessibility requirements.

The “WACA” certificate was developed by the OCG in cooperation with an expert consortium consisting of scientists from the University of Linz, employees of the Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Austrian, myAbility and the Vereins Accessible Media (Accessible Media Association), as well as experts from digital agencies.

Advisory board smiling and holding the certificate

Advisory board members: from left to right: Wolfgang Leitner (Zensations), Michael Aumann (GF myAbility), Rhea Göschl (auditor, myAbility), Werner Rosenberger ( OCG, project manager WACA), Jo Spelbrink and Wolfram Huber (both Accessible Media).

The initiative has been launched following a pilot project carried out with the food company REWE International AG.

After a successful audit, the WACA certificate will be awarded by the OCG in three grades – Gold, silver or bronze for two years, after which re-certification is necessary. WACA approved websites are visually awarded by the WACA label.

FInd out more by reading the full press release (German language only).

Be part of the purple revolution

#PurpleLightUp

3rd December, International Day of Persons with Disabilities was launched in 1992 by the United Nations, it is now globally recognised as a day that brings together a united voice to celebrate and empower disabled people. #PurpleLightUp powered by PurpleSpace will amplify millions of voices around the world.

#PurpleLightUp aims to celebrate the economic power of persons with disabilities around the globe.

In 2017, 56 major organisations across 66 countries celebrated #PurpleLightUp in some way. For 2018, corporations and public bodies are already lining up and will be flying purple flags and ‘purpling’ their websites.

Get involved by joining in with a range of options including lighting up iconic buildings and bridges, office buildings, cooking purple cupcakes, purple dress codes, purple flags, boats blogs or bows on dogs! Go wherever your purple imagination takes you!

Make sure you tell Purple Space your plans and ideas as you work towards December 3. Get in touch with Sarah Simcoe, #PurpleLightUp Design and Engagement Lead: sarah@purplespace.org.

Find out more by visiting the Purple Space website.

The Disability Matters Logo - Silhouettes of persons with disabilities rising on a ramp

Springboard Consulting have announced the Award Honorees for the 2018 Disability Matters Conference.

Marketplace: Dans Le Noir?

Workplace: Cisco Systems BV, Dow Europe GmbH, UniCredit Bank Austria AG

Workforce: Delhaize Serbia, Pandora Production Co., Ltd

Steps-to-Success: Barilla G&R Flli spa

The Honorees represent the Gold Standard when it comes to the commitment required, and actions necessary, to successfully mainstream disability in the European workforce, workplace and marketplace.

The winners will be honoured at Springboard Consulting’s 6th annual Disability Matters Europe Conference & Awards between 5th and 7th November 2018 in Horgen.

In addition to celebrating the success of the Honorees, attendees of the conference will be further educated by subject matter experts across the spectrum of disability.

Find out more on the Disability Matters website.

 

A panel of experts at the Zero Project Conference

Creating the shortlist becomes tougher and tougher each year! Both for us, and for our network of close experts around the world. It is so sad to say goodbye to some of the incredible projects that had made it into the first stage of the competition. We sincerely hope to stay in touch with everyone and we will be watching the projects thrive from afar!

But in order to have winners, we must first have a shortlist – And what a shortlist we have this year! 152 incredible, inspiring practices and 21 innovative forward-thinking policies from 61 countries. We are excited by the range of topics and the geographical spread around the globe – from training decision-makers in Phnom Penh to supported housing models in Azerbaijan, and from personal ombudsman services in Sweden to free Legal Advice in Honduras. It really is inspiring to see so many dedicated people from all around the globe and from all walks of life working tirelessly to make things better for persons with disabilities!

Congratulations to all those who made it onto the shortlist. Regardless of what happens in the final stage, they will all have the opportunity to attend the Zero Project Conference and network with experts and leaders from around the globe as a recognition of making it to this stage.

We have now opened the voting for the final round, where the winners will be selected. Over 2,000 experts in the Zero Project network will be asked to undertake the unenviable task of sorting the excellent from the great, in order to select the projects to be awarded in February.

Find out more about where the projects come from by reading our shortlist press release.