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Better days might be ahead for persons with disabilities in Poland

Better days might be ahead for persons with disabilities in Poland

As a national metropolitan area adopts minimum standards to improve their quality of life and inclusion

59 Polish municipalities, part of the Gdańsk - Gdynia - Sopot Metropolitan Area, adopted a Minimum Standard for Persons with Disabilities, reported the Association of Polish Cities. The comprehensive framework, developed with experts in the field, previews a set of activities and guidelines aimed to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, and the living environment in cities, communes and counties.

A disability may affect us at any time

A person with a disability lives in every fourth Pomeranian family, explains the document. This leads to a double exclusion - for people with disabilities and for their carers.

So, in order to reduce these limitations in various areas of the social and economic life and to promote the inclusion of each resident, the municipalities, which form the Metropolitan area with over 1.6 million inhabitants, adopted the Minimum Standard for Persons with Disabilities.

The standard covers 30 specific activities in 7 thematic areas, focusing primarily on awareness and education. All participating local governments agree to implement them and to improve the environment in metropolitan cities, communes and counties.

Among the improvements the Standard previews are:

  • training for representatives of the health service, teachers and officials,
  • educational activities,
  • public procurement with social clauses,
  • free legal advice points,
  • career counselling,
  • metropolitan database including doctor's offices with special equipment and procedures, etc.

The standard also provides for comprehensive support from birth, and even for the information about a child's disability before birth, until the death of a disabled person or their caregiver.

A group of over 80 experts and practitioners participated in the preparation of the document. Among them are representatives of local governments, disabled people and their guardians, representatives of the health services, educational and therapeutic institutions as well as psychological and pedagogical counselling centres.

As Magdalena Czarzyńska-Jachim, vice-mayor of the city of Sopot, put it: “The Standard is the first step towards the widest possible inclusion of people with special needs in every aspect of social life. Unfortunately, exclusion - be it from the professional, social, financial or health life they face, is often double - concerns both the disabled person and his / her guardians and siblings.

We should remember that the disability may affect each of us at any time, it may also be necessary, for example, to take care of a dependent senior in the family. That is why we want to build a system whose main goal is not only to support people with their disabilities but also to include them in the life of our municipalities.”

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