Homiel is the third city to welcome the regional campaign "Inclusive Belarus"

Dec 2, 2016

Homiel became the third regional centre in Belarus to host the information campaign "Inclusive Belarus: Leaving No One Behind in Reaching Sustainable Development Goals".

Campaign events took place in different venues around the city. The opening ceremony was held at the main venue - City Centre of Culture, and it was attended by representatives of UN agencies and local authorities.

"Sustainable development is a landmark for the whole world, - said the Deputy Head of Homiel Regional Executive Committee Vladimir Privalov at the official opening ceremony of the campaign. -We are pleased that a year after the campaign "Express-UN-70", international experts, representatives of government bodies and non-governmental organizations have once again gathered in Homiel to discuss one of the most important Sustainable Development Goals - Goal No.10 (reduced inequalities)”.

The Head of the Office of the International Organization for migration in Belarus Zeinal Hajiyev further elaborated on that idea and said: "The “Inclusive Belarus” campaign is the logical continuation of the express mission of UN-70 and it highlights our commitment to Sustainable Development Goals that we are trying to put into practice today.”

Representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Republic of Belarus Jean-Yves Bouchardy pointed out that Homiel region has seen an influx of refugees from Ukraine and Syria and has become a great example of Belarusian hospitality towards displaced people. “I would recommend you to attend today’s campaign events, visit the exhibition and take a moment to think carefully how inclusion can save lives", - said Jean-Yves Bouchardy.

Within the campaign UNDP together with its partners presented the results of its work to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 placing a greater emphasis on goal No.10.

The participants of the educational seminar "Women's leadership school", which was jointly organised by the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus and public association "Belarusian Women's Union " discussed gender mainstreaming in the modern society and the role of women leaders in the effective management of an organisation. The participants of the seminar have shown keen interest in discussing the characteristics of the image of a modern business woman.

In conjunction with the National Centre of Legislation and Legal Research of the Republic of Belarus, a seminar within UNDP's project "Strengthening Inclusive Local Governance in the Republic of Belarus" was held for the representatives of the local authorities. At the seminar the participants got acquainted with the best international practices for the implementation of inclusion principles in public service that will most effectively address the current needs of the population.

Homiel Regional Scientific and Technical library hosted several events on the topic of building an inclusive society.  Press Club on the creation of a barrier-free urban environment was dedicated to defining the role of the media in the transformation of the urban environment and to raising public awareness of the vulnerable groups of population, as well as to a possibility of creating a more positive image of those groups with the help of social media.

Webinar "Education - inclusion - sustainable development: experience and resources for collaboration in the regions" gathered in a round-table discussion representatives of educational establishments of Homiel and Homiel region, as well as students and teachers from gymnasium No.19 in Minsk. The participants of the meeting shared their experience and examples of their inclusive educational practices. 1 "A" grade of the secondary school No. 5 in Homiel became one of the 7 experimental inclusive classrooms, where healthy kids study together with children with disabilities. The guests from Minsk presented a number of social projects initiated and created by students.

At the end of the event UNDP presented the library with a collection of teaching guides.

The sports events of the "Inclusive Belarus" campaign in Homiel were organised by UNDP and Ministry for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus. Lyceum of Homiel Engineering Institute of the Ministry for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus became the centre for the promotion of healthy lifestyle. Lyceum students and hearing impaired students from school No.70 in Homiel competed in various races, a Mini Cup in blind table tennis and a tug of war. Students also tried themselves in swimming. Paralympic champion Vladimir Izotov, who has recently won the gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio, was instructing young swimmers.

At the end of the sports day, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus Sanaka Samarasinha handed the prizes to all the participants.

Civil society dialogue on the topic of participation in the work of the Country Coordinating Mechanism and cooperation with the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria was held within the framework of the "Inclusive Belarus" campaign. The participants also found out which prevention programs on HIV and tuberculosis will be subsidised by the Global Fund office in the country. A discussion on the role of civil society in shaping and maintaining the commitment to the treatment of HIV infection and tuberculosis took place at the meeting.

Exhibition visitors had a chance to see creative artworks made by children and young people with disabilities presented on the stand of youth public association "Otkrovenie". "Inclusion or illusion?" was the name of the training session, organised by "Otkrovenie", where the participants discussed social inclusion of young people with disabilities and the challenges of creating a barrier-free environment in our country. Young wheelchair users shared their personal stories to tell the participants about the problems they face in their everyday life.

A unique mobile and web-application Destandable, that aims to improve interaction with hearing impaired people, was also presented at the exhibition. The application allows you to learn sign language in an interactive manner. It was developed by a team of 5 students from Belarusian State University for a Hackathon competition organised with the support of UNDP in Belarus.

EU-UNDP project "Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus" presented the initiatives that have been implemented in Homiel region. For example, the local initiative "Souvenirs from Loev" assists in the employment of young people with disabilities between the ages of 18 to 31 years. The aim of the initiative "We choose life" is to motivate young people to lead a healthy lifestyle and advocate against the use of psychedelic drugs. And those who are already addicted get help in finding possible ways of overcoming the addiction and quitting drugs.

At the exhibition stands presented by the Belarusian Children's Hospice, visitors learnt how to make paper storks of happiness, and most importantly, they could participate in the charity campaign #AistDom and make a donation to build a summer house for volunteers at the summer recreational centre of the hospice.

Participants could also donate to the hospice at the evening gala concert that marked the end of the busy agenda of the "Inclusive Belarus" campaign in Homiel.

The audience was moved by the performance of Maher, a refugee from Syria who appealed to the participants with a touching speech about the importance of the "Inclusive Belarus" campaign. Maher lost his close relatives at war, but he found a new home and a new life in Belarus.

Among other participants, Sasha Nemo, UZARI, choir of the Cinema Academy "Child film production" and Homiel Border Forces brass band of the Republic of Belarus also performed at the gala concert.