Situation report 2005 on the disability organisations in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Skopje , March 2005
There are seven Invalid's Organizations in the Republic of Macedonia : Organization of Blind; Organization of Deaf and Hearing-Impaired; Association of Physically Disabled Persons; Organization of Intellectually Impaired (Poraka ((Message)); Organization of Civilian War Invalids; Association of Labor Invalids and the Federation of Sports and Recreation of disabled.
The disabled individuals are members of their respective organization according to their disability and these can be referred to as national and representative organizations since they are functioning as such (in spite of the fact that this has not been clearly regulated by the law). All these organizations are completely independent, however the issues common to all the organizations have been coordinated and decided upon at the Alliance of Invalid's Organizations of Macedonia (ZIOM) which in fact has been built by and of these seven organizations. The Alliance represents their joint legal subject and decisions have been made upon by consensus. All these organizations, including the Alliance , receive funds from the games of chance through the state budget.
There is a general agreement to the fact that numerous rights the disabled enjoyed earlier had been annulled and certain rights reduced since the beginning of transitions in our country. This mostly due to the general economic situation of our country on one part and certain misunderstandings and inertness of state institutions on the other. All Invalid's Organizations individually and through the Alliance are very determined to intensify the activities and to improve this situation. In spite of the success in reducing the amount of participation in health protection and rehabilitation we are not happy that this participation still exists in health services and assistive appliances. In the field of education we are working on providing accessibility and inclusion of the disabled as well as complete exercising the right and opportunity to choose the education. Although regulations, standards and normative have been adopted it will take a long time and a lot of work these to be implemented in practice. The financial and other kind of support for the disabled is at very low levels and insufficient for their needs. We are however, very happy with the results achieved in the field of employment that results from the extremely good Law on Employment of Disabled People. We use our own bulletins and our, since recently, greater presence in the media to inform both our members and the public on the issues related to disabled and disability. It is evident that the awareness on the status and needs of the disabled is improving. The integration of the disabled is moving upwards and this is mostly done through their organizations and their numerous educational, cultural, sports and other activities when disabled are coming out of the isolation of their homes and they are encouraged to lead more active and normal life in the environments. We are pleased to note that there are improvements in this direction but we are also aware that there is yet much to be done and many unsolved issues that require permanent attention and activities in their implementation.
Our Association has had long-term contacts and cooperation with Invalid Organizations from countries that emerged from former Yugoslavia , with the Invalid's Organization in Bulgaria , some regional organizations in Albania , and we are in the process of exchange of correspondence and expect to establish closer communication and cooperation with similar disability organizations in several other countries in the near future.
Our Association owns 11 flats in Ohrid fully equipped, adapted and accessible for holiday and recreation of our members during summer holidays (to be more precise during the months of May to September) - free of charge t.e. the costs for travel to and from Ohrid and a daily food allowance (for 10 days) have been covered by the Association as mentioned in our Statute. The Organization of Deaf and Hearing-Impaired have their own recreation resort also in Ohrid. For your information this is a beautiful town by the Lake of Ohrid in the south-west part of the country famous for its numerous monuments, churches, traditional architecture etc. There are several hotels in Ohrid and its vicinity (such as the Palace, Granit, Metropol, Belevue and others) that are accessible to all disability categories. The accommodation costs vary amounting to 30 - 40 € FB during the summer.
Unfortunately not all of the locations are accessible for persons challenged with some physical disability especially wheelchair users. But, from my experience, Ohrid is worth visiting, and the communications are good, both by car/bus or plane.
Association of Physically Disabled Persons of Macedonia Â– STILM -