Final reports members: Poland

The Polish Association of Disabled People in Krakow (PSON) is herewith informing about activities of PSON in 2003 and the most important items to be implemented in 2004 as follows:

The Central Committee of Polish Association of Disabled People in Krakow in 2003 started intensive preparations for the European Year of Disabled People. We began with the huge information campaign within the national and local governments and non-governmental organizations and others. The feedback we got was various – in most cases we can say - indifferent. We are of the opinion that it is highly strange as some bodies had been established to act for the benefit of the disabled. Despite there was only little enthusiasm, we managed to achieve once set goals. The culmination was the International Conference “Equalization Opportunities Options“ that was held in Krakow on 7th – 9th December 2002 and that commenced the celebration of the European Year of Disabled People 2003 in Poland.

We perceive this year, the European Year of Disabled People is not fulfilling the expected hopes taking into consideration local and national governments. No significant enterprises that would influence opportunities equalization were organized apart from episodic events – happenings, meetings, etc.

Poland for the following time joined the celebration of the World Week of Mobility. However, most events connected with the disabled mobility were rather a good occasion for social meetings and fun than a concern for the improvement of transport and accessibility for the disabled.

We regret to say that Polish authorities not only are careless about the improvement of life quality for the disabled, but also limit the extent so called „privileges”.

These are a few of them:

  • High rate of unemployment within the disabled ( one person is employed out of 12-15)
  • Administrative decisions of doctors about suppression of disability ( economical reasons)
  • Social allowance limitation or deprivation
  • Lack of special law on disabled women (no statistics)
  • Lack of policy on support, discrimination and intolerance, difficulty in getting information and on other obstacles that lead to ignorance of the disabled in a social life
  • The government do not create the favorable conditions for non-governmental organizations acting for the benefit of people with disabilities, a situation which will lead to their liquidation
  • Passed law on so called public utility that refers to some non-governmental organizations  (It departs considerably from the proposal of these organizations. It limits their autonomy.)
  • List of obstacles is longer and longer what limits our optimistic perspective.

 Despite so many obstacles and modest financial resources, the Polish Association of Disabled People tries very hard to improve the situation of the disabled – focusing mainly on youths. That is why we have plenty of international contacts, we apply for various projects and look for partnership. We constantly develop skills of our staff particularly in the field of the European integration.

  • In 2003 the Association got in touch with Ms Maria Dolores Arias from European Office FSVCV. We applied for a partnership in the project prepared by PREDIF, Spain, that dealt with life conditions of the disabled in institutional accommodation. However, the project was not approved for implementation by the European Union.
  • In 2003 the Association worked out and submitted the application in the frame of the Fifth Action of Program „Youths”. The project will aim at organization of a seminar on making contacts – „Disabled Youths in New Europe”. The project was accepted by the Selective Committee of the Program “Youths” and will be organized this year. 39 persons (including additional staff) will take part in the seminar that will be held on 25th – 29th April 2004. The date is not accidental because it will precede the accession of Poland into the European Union. First of all, it will be the meeting of representatives from European organizations dealing with disability. They will plan the youth exchange through working out special projects and systems of their implementation.
  • In 2003 we applied also for a short study visit organized by the National Agency of “Youth” Program in Warsaw. Our project was accepted and will be held on 28th September – 3rd October 2004. So far, 9 countries from Europe + Poland have applied (we still welcome other partners). The project will imply the development regarding people with disabilities, particularly youths. We will have to wait for the effects, but its long-term results will undoubtedly reap benefits. It refers not only to Poland, but also to all EU and candidate countries.
  • In the frame of the “Youths” Program, one of the PSON representatives  participated in training “Mobility and Disabled Youth Participation in Europe” that was held on 30th October – 2nd November in Marly-le-Roi in France. Representatives of our association developed their skills in the field of the European Union, projects writing and international co-operation regarding disability.
    • At the end of November 2003 we started work on the project: „Sport as a Motor Strength of the Disabled Education” in the frame of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004. If the project is accepted, it will be implemented by the Association after signing the contract in the second half of 2004. Its ending is planned still for 2004.

Sport is a key element of human being development. Concerning disabled people, sport is much more important. It contributes not only towards the psycho- and physical improvement, but also to better life objectives achievement.

Apart from researches in the field of impact of sport on disabled children and youths, there will be study visits, workshops, etc, organized by partners. 10 partners (national and foreign) have applied so far.

Furthermore, PSON undertakes a lot of activities on the national level in the field:

  • Support and information activities for disabled people
  • Social activities (dealing with complaints, information dissemination)
  • Education accessibility
  • Opportunities equalization on the labor market
  • Removal of all kinds of obstacles
  • Fight against biases and stereotypes
  • Rehabilitation activities
  • Judgment on law
  • Summer and winter camps for children and youths
  • In 2003 we submitted two projects on rehabilitation and disability prevention. The projects have not been examined yet.
  • We applied to the National Social Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled People (we have got the initial approval) for two projects implementation in the frame of the European Social Fund in 2004.
  • We have intervened  concerning the approval of the EU Constitutional Treaty by the Prime Minister Leszek Miller
  • We joined the protest action organized by FIMITIC (International Federation of Persons with Physical Disability) that refers to provisions of European Convention on anti-discrimination of the disabled and sent letters to Ms Danuta Hubner and Ms Józef Oleksy the responsible representatives of the European Union issues.

            As we mentioned above, PSON can be proud of a range of activities that will have effects not only in 2004, but also will reap benefits for disabled people, especially children and youths for a long time.

To sum up the year 2003 we have the wish that the year 2004 will be at least the same as the year 2003. We hope that due to programs which we are currently implementing and which we will implement in the future we will increase the social awareness and improve life and work conditions for the disabled in order to equal opportunities.