NASO’s team had the pleasure to take part in the meeting organized for the Мembers of Employment Forum on the 20th of September, 2022. During the event important topics in the field of sheltered employment were touched upon and discussed, such as case studies and researches. A new project that was launched within the framework of the European community was presented, and at the end of the meeting, an extensive discussion was held on the occasion of Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) to the United Nations.
Thanks to the expertise of the participants, their initiative and established many years’ experience in the field of social systems in different European countries, the online meeting was extremely comprehensive, managed to affect all cases and gave the opportunity to discuss various proposals for solutions to the many current and future challenges.
Participants provided an extensive overview of States Parties’ obligations under Article 27 of the UNFCCC and each relevant topic was addressed in detail through presentations and open discussions. The reason why people with disabilities find It hard to find a job is ‘ableism’: based on strict standards of appearance, functioning and behaviour, ableist ways of thinking see the experience of disability as a misfortune that leads to suffering and disadvantage and invariably devalues human life.
Legislation and policies still reflect the ableist approach to disability through charity and/or medical models. In order to guarantee the rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, States Parties must apply the human rights model of disability. The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities believes that labor and trade unions should be more inclusive and should also more actively represent people with disabilities.
Accessibility is not the same as reasonable accommodation. It’s not just about having access to the venue, but also about providing individualized modifications and adjustments for people with disabilities. Sheltered workshops are considered a separate employment model that focuses on a medical approach to disability and keeps people with disabilities away from the open, inclusive and accessible employment. It does not effectively promote the transition to free labor, equal pay for work of equal value and the absence of regular employment contracts.
OSVIT, the new member of the employment forum got the opportunity to present his organization and work. OSVIT is a charity organization that overlooks all sheltered and interactive workshops in Croatia which annually organize conferences on topics such as employment of disabled people, they do study visits and publish reports. Also, they do classes and seminars on working with people with disabilities for the staff of the integration workshops.
In addition, an EASPD study on the effectiveness of sheltered workshops, their status and progress was also presented. EASPD coordinated this commissioned study to obtain sufficient data to understand the progress of its development across the EU and to support their position. The contract was signed in July.
The researchers are currently conducting interviews with stakeholders at various levels. The target countries are Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, the Czech Republic and Poland. The report is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.
The November meeting with the Policy Impact Lab, the research team, will provide an update.
A project on “Professional participation of people with disabilities in Europe – a contrastive analysis” was presented. This is a project carried out by Katarina Bast’s organization – BAG WfbM Germany, the aim of which is to increase the level of awareness about the professional integration of people with disabilities and to compare the social services in the following 5 countries: