UARU
Making Ukraine More Accessible For Disabled People
29 November, 2016

What You Need To Know:

Around 3 million disabled people live in Ukraine. They don’t have access to many places because these spaces are not adapted for such people;
Dostupno.ua is an initiative that verifies public places in Ukraine to see if they are accessible for disabled people;
“Owners of cafes don’t know how to behave because they don’t see them [disabled people]. When we come and ask to change something, they don’t understand why,” says Margo, co-founder of Dostupno.ua.

According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of Ukraine, there were almost 3 million disabled people living in Ukraine in 2013 – 6.1% of the Ukrainian population.

“Even now, many people with disabilities stay at home, watch TV and don’t know how other people live,” says Dmytro Schebetyuk, co-founder of the “Dostupno.ua” initiative.

According to their Facebook page, the main goal of the project is to show that people in a wheelchair can still visit the same places as people who don’t have physical disabilities. The initiative also wants to encourage some changes, to make public places more accessible for disabled people.

"When we started the initiative, we wanted the owners of public places to come to us before they open, and ask us how to make it more accessible,” said Margo Gontar, a co-founder of Dostupno.ua.

It’s quite a young project, which started in December of 2015. But now, after almost a year, it has achieved some results. Margo Gontar says that owners of public places are consulting with them about how to make a café etc. accessible for disabled people.

“There are few examples. The most recent one was in Ivano-Frankivsk. They actually asked us to check it [a public place] at a very early stage,” said Margo.

Dmytro Schebetyuk , who is also on the Ukrainian Paralympic archery team, says that the changes are not the same in different parts of Ukraine.

“I see many changes in other parts of Ukraine, but not in Kyiv. In Lviv, you can see real changes. When you come back to Lviv after some time and see new accessible places, it’s great. Vinnytsia is a really accessible city,” said Dmytro.

You can watch Dmytro Schebetyuk's video blog where he is checking out public places in Ukraine here. You can also watch a documentary "Invisible" about disabled population in Ukraine.