The wife of the President of Ukraine Olena Zelenska and the First Lady of Austria Doris Schmidauer met with representatives of the Gemeinderat and Landtag of Vienna to exchange experience in creating equal opportunities for all citizens, combating violence and overcoming new challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular in the field of education.
The meeting was attended by member of the Gemeinderat and Landtag of Vienna and the Vienna City Council Marcus Schober, Deputy Head of the Office of the Mayor and Governor of Vienna Margareta Griessler-Hermann, Deputy Head of the Vienna International Magistrate Silvia Friedrich, Advocate for Children and Youth of the Vienna Magistrate Ercan Nik Nafs, Consultant for Women’s Affairs of the Women's Department of the Magistrate Ricarda Götz and Head of the School Administration of the Vienna Magistrate Robert Oppenauer.
The first topic discussed at the meeting was the issue of accessibility and the creation of a universal public space. Marcus Schober said that over the past 20 years, Vienna has come a long way in this direction. The city is very proud of the results, for example - all Viennese metro stations, without exception, are equipped with special elevators for people with disabilities. Barrier-free is a priority enshrined in law. In 2010, Austria passed an anti-discrimination law, which provides for a program to create a universal public space for 30 years. The program is funded by the budget, and the amount of funding is over 1 billion euros.
Much attention in Vienna is paid to the fight against domestic violence. The city has four shelters for 175 seats, and in the near future it is planned to open another one. There is a special hotline. Ricarda Götz emphasized that not only women, but also men are abused, so there are specialized organizations and services in Vienna that deal with this problem.
The Magistrate also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively affected the rights of children and adolescents, especially in the field of education. There was no centralized distance education program in the country, and schools and students faced a lack of equipment and sometimes experience for teachers to organize online learning.
For her part, Olena Zelenska spoke about Ukraine's experience in this issue, noting that the country had launched the "All-Ukrainian Online School" in a short time, the video lessons of which had been broadcast daily on national TV channels ensuring maximum availability of educational content.
At the end of the meeting, the First Lady of Ukraine called on the participants to continue sharing experience and deepening cooperation, and invited Austrian partners to visit Ukraine.