First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska took part in the opening of the Philosophy of Ability forum on the occasion of the International Day of People with Disabilities. Within the framework of the event, two thematic panels were held with the participation of public activists, representatives of international organizations and ministries: "Self-realization through employment" and "New recovery formula".
In her speech, Zelenska emphasized the term "philosophy of ability" in the name of the forum.
"Ability is the ability to act. And at the same time, ability is also the presence of favorable conditions, circumstances that help to act. It seems to me that this is the formula for our discussion today: what conditions should be created in the state and society so that every person in Ukraine, in particular with a disability, is able to live to the fullest, to realize himself, to have no barriers," the President's wife said.
The First Lady reminded that on this very day, the International Day of People with Disabilities, two years ago, the Head of State signed a decree on the creation of the National Strategy for Barrier-Free Environment. This was preceded by a long discussion about equal rights and opportunities for all citizens, which began in the spring of 2020.
"During the quarantine due to Covid-19, each of us experienced complete or partial isolation. At that time, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology conducted a nationwide study, which gave an understanding of which barriers need to be overcome as a matter of priority. Two years ago, experts and representatives of the authorities, civil society and business came together. A unique document for Ukraine – the National Strategy for Barrier-Free Environment – and the Action Plan for it were shaped through joint efforts, which became a road map for the ministries," Zelenska said.
The participants of the forum discussed new approaches to self-realization through employment, rehabilitation and social services, restoration and development of the ability of people with disabilities, in particular, taking into account the challenges of war.
According to the First Lady, the full-scale Russian invasion showed that Ukraine is moving in the right direction in terms of building barrier-free and equal society.
The health care system integrates the principles of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). It is a tool that provides a plan for a person's recovery after an injury or disability. The Superhumans project to create a specialized clinic for prosthetics and reconstruction is being implemented, work continues on a new algorithm for obtaining driver's licenses for people with disabilities, and public building codes are being improved so that the restoration of war-damaged buildings and the construction of new ones take place according to new standards.
"I believe that everyone who has gathered here today understands that a person is our highest value. So I would like everyone present, everyone who makes decisions, who provides services, who designs and builds, to look in one direction: what else can I do? How to do it better? How to make it available? How to rebuild our country so that anyone in it feels worthy? Feels able. Feels like a person," the President's wife said.
For reference. This year's forum Philosophy of Ability is designed to form a common vision of a barrier-free environment in Ukraine and inform about new state policies related to employment, rehabilitation, provision of social services and services for people with disabilities and their families, implementation of digital technologies for recovery and professional realization of people taking into account their needs caused by disability. The forum was organized by the Ministry of Social Policy with the support of UNDP, the government of the Republic of Korea, the government of Germany and the Initiative Center to Support Social Action "Ednannia."