The NASO team had the pleasure of participating in the meeting organized for the Мembers of Employment Forum on September 20, 2022. During the event, important topics in the field of sheltered employment were touched upon and discussed – case studies, research, a new project 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 Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) to the United Nations.
Thanks to the expert potential of the participants, their initiative and established many years of 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 challenges – current and future.
Participants provided a comprehensive overview of States Parties’ obligations under Article 27 of the UNFCCC, with each relevant topic addressed in detail through presentation and open discussion. The reason why it is difficult for people with disabilities to find work 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 more actively represent people with disabilities. Accessibility is not the same as reasonable accommodation.It’s not just about 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 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.
A new member of the employment forum got the opportunity to present his organization and his work – OSVIT – a voluntary organization that overlooks all sheltered workshops and interactive workshops in Croatia. Annually, they organize conferences on the topic of employment of disabled people, study visits and publish reports. They also provide training on working with people with disabilities for the staff of integration workshops-seminars.
An EASPD study on the effectiveness of sheltered workshops – status and progress was also presented. EASPD coordinated this commissioned study to obtain sufficient data to understand how this is developing across the EU and to support EASPD’s 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. Poland. The report is expected to be finalized by the end of the year. The November meeting with the Policy Impact Lab (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 social services in 5 countries (Sweden, Germany, France, Spain and Slovenia).