“Inclusive Belarus” Campaign Made Its Way to the Northern Capital of Belarus

Dec 7, 2016

On the 6th of December “Inclusive Belarus” has visited the fifth Belarusian city – Viciebsk. The concert hall “Viciebsk” became the main venue to host numerous events: visitors were invited to get aquatinted with the UN agencies projects at the exhibition, take part in discussions about fighting AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, providing access to justice, defining role of media in building an inclusive society, and enjoy kids’ fashion show and inclusive concert during the evening.   

The event began with signing of the Commitment between UN and Viciebsk Oblast to Leave No One Behind in Achieving the Sustainable Goal №10: Reducing Inequalities by UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Belarus Ekaterina Paniklova and the Chairperson of the Vitebsk Oblast Council of Deputies Vladimir Terentyev.

"Today our strategic task is to open inclusive school in each district of the region with a team of specialists which are able to adopt and disclose the individual potential of every child, regardless of his mental, physical, linguistic, cultural and social characteristics”, - said Vladimir Terentyev.

A number of round tables between local authorities, media, NGOs, UN agencies and international experts was held during the first part of the day. A dialogue of civil society on participation in the Country Coordinating Mechanism to cooperate with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was organized in partnership with UNDP and Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus.

The UNDP – Danish Development Agency (DANIDA) project "Strengthening Inclusive Local Governance in the Republic of Belarus" invited Viciebsk civil servants to learn how to improve administrative procedures at the local level while implementing IT technologies of global experience.

The third press club took place in Viciebsk. Representatives of NGOs, media and local authorities unveiled the achievements on creating barrier free environment and agreed on the action plan for the future.

Andrei Tsybulskiy, Head of the Viciebsk NGO “Republican Association of Wheelchair Users” noted that accessibility of public spaces and services for people with disabilities contributes to the image of the city on the international level:  It is the environment that makes a person disabled, the attitude of government and civil servants make person dependent. Barrier free environment is the face of any city that declares how people are being treated”.  

At the end of the press club Head of the local NGO “Belarussian Society of People with Disabilities” Mikhail Koroliun granted a certificate of appreciation to Gennadiy Egorov, Head of Ideology, Culture and Youth Relations Department of Viciebsk Oblast’ Council for his contribution and support of the organization.

Access to justice was on the agenda of the Viciebsk roundtable on SDGs. Among special guests of the event there were UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus Sanaka Samarasinha, Chargé d’affaires of the United States of America in the Republic of Belarus Robert Riley, Charge d'affaires for the State of Israel in the Republic of Belarus Olga Slov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the Republic of Belarus Viorel Moşanu. Panelists discussed what should be done to provide all citizens including vulnerable groups with equal access to legal services and law.

Robert Riley, Chargé d’affaires of the United States of America in the Republic of Belarus, emphasized in his speech the importance to define the terms “accessibility” and “discrimination of people with disabilities” legally and follow those regulations in real life.

“This is the reality and truth: the more inclusive we are, the more talents we discover or opportunities we provide to everyone, the more it will enrich us as the society. Inclusive society is not just a nice idea, it also makes sense economically and socially,” – said Robert Riley.  

UNDP exhibition featured three of the winners of the contest of local initiatives as a part of UNDP-EU project “Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus”.

Senno House of Crafts, one of the winning initiatives, gives new birth to local traditional costumes and crafts. Within this project Senno craftswomen bought weaver looms and remade 9 traditional costumes from the end of 19th till the middle of 20th centuries. These costumes earned several awards at the Slavianski Bazaar Arts Festival and at the moment are showcased at different local and international exhibitions.

These skills are taught by one generation to another. There was a loom in each house back in times, and girls helped their mothers and grandmothers since age of 12. During winter time they needed to craft cloths for the family for the whole year, and girls also had to finish weaving the trousseau. We would like to keep this tradition and initiate youth into crafts,” – said Olga Kvashkova, Head of Senno House of Crafts. 

Belarussian Freewill Fireguard Society won the contest with the initiative to organize Voluntary Security Centre of local freewill fireguard team “Donukalovo-agro” in the agrotown Kovali that is situated close to massive peatlands.  They supplied the centre with all necessary equipment to neutralize peat fires and created a themed playground for children to teach fire safety rules from early age. The initiative has been supported by Ministry of Emergency Situations of Belarus, BRYU, Liozna District Executive Committee, District Soviet of Deputies, Vialiskovicy Rural Council and “Donukalovo-agro”.    

The initiative of the Education, Sport and Tourism Department of the Viciebsk District Council on business development education also presented the results they achieved. The initiative aims to teach youth basics of business within side school activities.

Distinctive event for the Viciebsk “Inclusive Belarus” campaign was Kids’ Inclusive Fashion Show that featured little models with disabilities.

UZARI and “Art-Platform”, International Student Choir of the Belarusian State Medical University “Dominanta”, wheelchair dancers Natalya Ostanina and Evgeny Yarmoshko, singer from Syria Maher Alsheikh, music band “SONICA”, vocal band of the Belarusian Society of Visually Impaired People “Belaya Rus”, Children Dance Group “Zor’ka”, theater “Koleso”.