A national campaign reminds the romanian society that citizens with disabilities have also rights

Romania / Arad, December 2, 2005 - The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, event proclaimed by the United Nations in 1992 and celebrated every year on the 3rd of December, will be marked on national level in Romania too within a national campaign of the civil society. "Take My Spot, Bear My Lot!" is the name of the campaign developed by 7 nongovernmental organizations that invite Romanian able-bodied citizens to understand the obstacles their fellow citizens with disabilities have to face when they try to live a decent life.

The Campaign started on the 3rd of December, in the following 6 towns from Romania: Arad, Bacau, Bucuresti, Cluj, Medias and Timisoara, being organized by 6 associations and foundations supported by the Open Society Fundation. The agenda of events includes exhibitions, a march of solidarity, round table discussions as well as charity actions, depending on the special issues existing in these towns.

In Arad the Campaign has been organized by the Association of Persons with Neuromotor Disability from Romania - AHNR - Arad County Branch. In her speech, Mrs. Monica Antoci - President AHNR-Arad County Branch made a short presentation of the International Day of Persons with Disability highlighting also the importance of this Campaign organized and developed on national level by the civil society. The President of Arad City Council expressed his hope that no other campaign will be needed in the future for raising awareness on the need of accessible public buildings and environment. The "March of solidarity" started at 11.00 a.m. and finished at 1.00 p.m. 100 persons, including the Prefect of Arad County, the Deputy-Mayor of Arad Municipality, local Deputies of the Romanian Parliament, the Director of the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection, Inspector of Arad Branch of the National Authority for Persons with Disability, the Directorate for Development and Community Care, clerics from the Orthodox church, students from the local Universities, members of the Youth Parliament and persons with disabilities participated in this march. The distance they walked from the I. Slavici State Theatre to Ziridava Shopping Center and return is over 3 Km. As an attitude of their solidarity to people with disabilities, citizens were invited to take a sit in one of the empty wheelchairs in order to be pushed few meters and to become in this way aware ofg reality, of what exactly the lack of accessibility means. Invited by Ms. Ecaterina-Ani Jager - Vice-president of AHNR-Arad County Branch all above mentioned officials participated in this march sitting in wheelchairs. Persons with disabilities carried a banner with the inscription "Take My Spot, Bear My Lot !"

The Campaign continues with the following activities: on the 5th, 6th and 7th of December volunteers and persons with disabilities will gather signatures from citizens who agree to have an accessible city for all people. On December 8, a round table will be organized under the auspices of the Prefecture. 20 Mayors from the Arad County, representatives of institutions dealing with disability issues, constructions, etc., persons with disabilities will try to find the best solutions to make public buildings and outside environment accessible. On Friday, the 9th of December an active street action will start by fixing stickers for "accessible buildings", "partialy accessible buildings" and "access forbidden" for persons with disabilities depending on wheelchairs. These stickers will be fixed on the entrances of the public buildings by volunteers, persons with disabilities and the officials that participated in the March of Solidarity. On the 10th of December volunteers and persons with disabilities will give flyers and handouts reminding the citizens that December 10 is the International of Human Rights. The Campaign will end with a Press Conference where the most accessible buildings will be nominated and awards will be given to those volunteers who gathered the greatest number of signatures.

"Take My Spot, Bear My Lot !" is a national campaign initiated by the Open Society Foundation and developed in partnership with Asociatia Handicapatilor Neuromotor din Romania - Fliala Arad, Asociaþia Phoenix Speranta - Medias, Fundatia Centrul de Recuperare a Copiilor cu Handicap Motor, Cluj-Napoca, Fundaeia Motivation Romania - Bucuresti, Fundatia "Pentru Voi" - Timisoara and Societatea Handicapatilor Fizic Bacau.

For more information

AHNR - General Secretariate

Tel/fax: +40 - 257 - 272707

e-mail: ahnrom@inext.ro

web: http://www.ahnr.ro

http://www.ahnr.cabanova.ro (for the project "Announcing a disability")