Disabled in Ukraine – ignored and angry
Around 50 Ukrainians with disabilities marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December by staging a protest over inaction and indifference to their problems. They blocked the road leading to the rehabilitation sport centre in Western Ukraine in an attempt to raise awareness of the difficulties they face. a protest over the authorities’ total indifference to their situation.
They believe that the International Day is merely an opportunity for the usual pretence and no impulse for real action.
“We became convinced of that this year when we visited the version for show of marking this day in Ukraine House. If in previous years you could see the President and Prime Minister, this year even that performance for show from the country’s leaders was missing.”
In protest, they blocked the road with one of the signs reading: “Roads not only for your crowd”.
“More than 50 people with disabilities from different parts of Ukraine – with sight impediments, in wheelchairs; with hearing disabilities – expressed a real cry of the heart by blocking the totally ruined road which leads to a unique structure for Paralympics training and rehabilitation of the disabled, social adaptation and help in achieving an independent life”.
Yaroslav Hrybalsky, Head of the Lviv Disabled Rehabilitation Fund, Olena Yurkovska, many-times Paralympics champion and Volodymyr Azin from the National Assembly of People with Disabilities were among those at the protest. The activists say that the centre cannot even be reached by people without disabilities.
They added that the President had been told all about this centre as a unique Paralympics institution, yet in fact disabled sports people are forced to train in Finland “where the roads are good and the attitude to people with disabilities is not like the Ukrainian State’s attitude to those people who achieve victories for Ukrainian sport”.