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.

The World Future Council is inviting nominations for laws or policies that work to give young people a voice and the opportunity to get decent jobs in a sustainable economy.

They are seeking nominations of innovative and impactful laws, policies and legal frameworks that create enabling environments and empower young people in the following fields:

  • Economic empowerment of young women and men in decent and sustainable jobs
  • Youth civic engagement and political participation in support of sustainable development and peace

Further details of the award and the application process can be found on the World Future Council website.

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.

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.