President of Ukraine

Symbol of irreversibility of changes in social relations: Olena Zelenska presents printed "Barrier-free Handbook" in Kyiv

16 November 2022 - 18:39

Symbol of irreversibility of changes in social relations: Olena Zelenska presents printed

On the International Day of Tolerance, a presentation of the printed "Barrier-Free Handbook," a guide to correct communication, created at the initiative of First Lady Olena Zelenska, was held in Kyiv.

"War dictates the conditions in which everything changes both externally and internally. I do not know a single Ukrainian family that was not affected by Russian aggression – directly or through relatives. But I know that a human, life, rights, dignity, future, well-being is what we will continue to fight for. An important component of this, a basic value principle is the ethics of communication and our interaction," the President's wife said.

The First Lady said that the idea for the project arose in November 2020 at a meeting with members of the Business Without Barriers community. In almost one year, in cooperation with public organizations, human rights defenders, psychologists, parents who raise children with disabilities, Ukrainian and international experts, the Barrier-Free Handbook was created and its electronic version was launched. The presentation of the printed Handbook was planned to be held at the Kyiv's Book Arsenal in May of this year, but due to the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation, the plans had to be changed, but not canceled.

"Thanks to the huge project team, experts, businesses, the Handbook was published to be a guide to tolerance in our society. This is how the barrier-free seed, sown at the meeting in November 2020, sprouted despite everything," the First Lady added. "How to properly address someone who returned from the front with limb loss? How to offer help to a person with a disability? Is it correct to take a blind person's hand when accompanying them? Why, when inviting a person in a wheelchair for a walk, is it better to say "let's go for a walk" instead of "let's go for a ride"? Answering these questions now is an opportunity for all of us to be comfortable."

The presentation took place with the participation of representatives of authorities, civil society, expert circles and the business community. The special guests of the event were human rights activist and lawyer Masi Nayyem, who lost an eye due to injuries, Paralympic athlete Yana Lebedeva, and Oleksandr Budko, who lost limbs due to injuries near Izium. They used their own examples to talk about the importance of communication and interaction based on respect for people.

The Handbook will be handed over to national and regional libraries, as well as state-owned enterprises, for which, as the First Lady expressed hope, it will become a working tool.

At the same time, the electronic Handbook is being supplemented with up-to-date information, in particular, a new section on the ethics of interacting with different people in times of stress has recently appeared in it