Web Accessibility Directive evaluation. CRPD consultations. Updates on help in Ukraine – #IncludeNews December 2022

Overview of news, reports, policies relevant to people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Europe.

Web Accessibility Directive evaluation. CRPD consultations. Updates on help in Ukraine - #IncludeNews December 2022

#IncludeNews bring you updates about work done for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in Europe. This post is updated with new information during the month.


The funds of the latest tranche were transferred to 42 organizations. Many warm messages from parents, because children and adults have services and employment!, writes VGO Coalition on 20 December.


The VGO Coalition held its reporting conference on 8 December.

Milan Šveřepa took part in the conference, and writes:

  • On behalf of Inclusion Europe I expressed support and solidarity to Ukrainian people with intellectual disabilities and families, demonstrated (not only) by the donations from organisations and individuals.
  • It is only thanks to the work of the VGO Coalition that the money helps.
  • In war-impacted conditions, the Coalition distributes the money, organises donations and makes sure thousands of people receive support.
The VGO Coalition said:
  • “The hostilities caused a lot of grief for the country.
  • Ukrainians with intellectual disabilities and their families, in addition to typical wartime hardships, suffer from
    • lack of available security measures,
    • unsuitable bomb shelters and evacuation,
    • termination of social and rehabilitation services at the community level,
    • increase in cases of institutionalisation,
    • lack of safety information in an accessible format.
  • There is excessive burden on caregivers as result of the situation.
  • The NGO Coalition unites 118 NGOs and service agencies for people with intellectual disabilities and represents more than 14 thousand families.
  • In 2022 we helped them survive the hardships of the war, wit 482,000 euros of international assistance.”
Anton from Kherson said:
  • Our city was occupied. I am now in another part of Ukraine. It was important to have meetings with others. Thank you for your support.
Olena Kravchenko, chair of the Coalition, said:
  • We thank all our partners and everyone who supported us in Europe and all over the world.
  • I will tell you a story about Oleksander, 52-years old man with Down Syndrome from Mariupol
  • His parents died, and he attended a day centre and had social workers support.
  • When war started, social workers left.
  • A complete stranger found him and decided to help him.
  • This family took him from Mariupol to another place in Ukraine.
  • They didn’t have any financial support from the authorities.
  • But they received support from the European donations, and were able to support Oleksander.
  • This is a good alternative to having to go to an institution.
Yuliia Klepets, Coalition director, said: 
  • If it wasn’t for the international support we would hardly be able to cope in this situation.
  • Our heart-felt gratitude from everyone in our network representing 14,000 families.
  • We appreciate that the first support from Inclusion Europe was transferred on 8 March. At the same time 20 other organisations received support.

Screenshot from a zoom call showing various speakers from the VGO coaliton conference


Olena Melniyuk said on Facebook: “With the support of Inclusion Europe and VGO Coalition we are able to continue to provide a day-care service for young people who need attention, communication and meet the needs of daily work, creativity, being useful and important to others.”

Pictures from Ukraine, showing humanitarian aid, people with disabilities indoors during training activity, and group of people outside looking into the camera.


BBC: ‘We long for home – but our son has chances here’


UN CRPD Committee calls for submissions

The Committee calls for contributions into these consultations:


Web Accessibility Directive

The European Commission published its evaluation report covering the first three years of the application of the Web Accessibility Directive.

The European Commission also published an easy-to-read executive summary of their external study and an easy-to-read summary of last year’s public consultation results.


Awards for accessible cities

The European Commission has awarded its annual Access City award to cities improving accessibility for people with disabilities.

The Swedish city of Skellefteå received the 2023 Access City Award.

  • Accessibility is included in all Skellefteå’s plans, ensuring that public spaces such as playgrounds and streets are equipped with tactile information signs and ground heating, so as to ensure that snow and ice are not an impediment.
  • The city’s central park and nearby river area have tactile paths and maps, seating and an outdoor elevator.
  • A SMS-service for blind and partially sighted persons provides information on road construction and potential obstacles across the city.
  • Public buses are also fully accessible thanks to low floors, ramps, text screens and audio announcements.
  • Skellefteå also offers training for young people with intellectual disabilities to explore technology and ways of working to help them lead an independent adult life.

The Spanish city of Córdoba and Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana were awarded the second and third place prizes. Three other cities received a special mention for their efforts in becoming more accessible:

  • Hamburg (Germany), for its built environment;
  • Grenoble (France), for its transport network; and
  • Mérida (Spain), for its information and communication technologies.


New executive director for FDUV, Finland

The Board of Directors of FDUV has elected Annette Tallberg-Haahtela as new executive director.

  • Annette has worked at FDUV since 2012, in recent years as an expert in advocacy. 
  • Annette will take over as executive director in August 2023 when Lisbeth Hemgård retires.


“Personal assistance” service introduced in Belarus

With the adoption of new Law “On the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Their Social Integration” amendments were made to the Law “On Social Services”, inform our member Lifeguide.

  • New type of social service has been introduced: personal assistant.
  • It is a comprehensive assistance to people with disabilities in communication, participation in society, implementation of social norms and rules, solving a wide range of everyday tasks.
  • For example, a social work specialist will be able to provide information support in everyday situations, including searching for information, helping to fill out documents. The specialist will also help in mastering the technical means of rehabilitation, in organizing daytime employment outside the home: visiting workshops, day care departments, concerts, exhibitions.
  • This service also includes the provision of first aid, calling a doctor, informing relatives about the state of health, etc.


New Europe for us

The easy-to-read magazine has a new issue, with a lot of stories and interviews.

We also received a European Citizen Prize medal.


End of year summary from Inclusion Europe

Jyrki Pinomaa: You have proved that our common value, solidarity, isn’t just a word on our website

  • Our efforts to help Ukraine and raise awareness of the situation of Ukrainian people with intellectual disabilities and their families became an important part of our work plan. But this year we have also continued our work with the final year of our five-E strategy. The theme of 2022 was Ending segregation. 

Milan Šveřepa: 2022. Enough said.

  • 650,000 euros fundraised to help people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Ukraine
  • 1 conference with 120 attendees from 27 countries
  • 6 Tuesday Tutorials
  • 1 training on self-advocacy participation
  • 40 speaker contributions to conferences and trainings
  • 28,800 social media followers, 4,450 more than in 2021
  • 100,000 impressions on our post about North Macedonia story
  • 74 media appearances (45 last year)
  • 1 new member


Previous: #IncludeNews for November.


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