In the framework of the official visit to the Republic of Latvia, First Lady Olena Zelenska met representatives of Latvian NGOs Pilseta calvekiem, Babyroom and Aperions. They take care of protecting the interests of people with special needs, creating a friendly family environment as well as planning and improving of Latvian cities to increase their safety and comfort for all residents.
The meeting was organized by First Lady of Latvia Andra Levite at personal request of Olena Zelenska. The wife of the President of Ukraine wanted to learn the experience of Latvian civic activists on the issue of barrier-free and equal opportunities for all members of society.
“We are discussing a number of projects aimed at ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and men, improving the infrastructure for the barrier-free movement of people with special needs and the passage of baby carts, creating a comfortable space for parents and children in public places in cooperation with relevant government institutions and NGOs”, Olena Zelenska said.
The President's wife emphasized that she wanted to start these changes on her own example, so she planed to make the Office of the President of Ukraine barrier-free and safe for people with disabilities.
“I hope that this initiative will be supported not only by State Institutions, but also by business organizations. I understand that this is only a small step, but I want it to lead to mental changes in Ukrainian society and to the desire of citizens not only to fulfill the requirements of the legislation on inclusion, but to actually improve the quality of life of people with special needs,” she said.
Telling the stories of their NGOs, the activists also emphasized the importance of their own example, because each of the stories had begun many years ago with the initiative of an individual. For example, three mothers who sought to make public places comfortable and friendly for parents and children, a Riga young man who wanted to transform the streets of his city to be safe and comfortable for all residents.
Civic activists see one of their top priorities the involvement of as many indifferent people in projects as possible, raising public awareness of the importance of equal opportunities and barrier-free education, as well as educating people, including training people with special needs to use special infrastructure.