Persons with disabilities in Macedonia are frequently marginalized in society and face numerous challenges in the enjoyment of their human rights.
They are marginalized by the society, by their families and in many cases by themselves.
– Expressing our rights and recognizing that we are valued members of society is essential so that we feel respected as citizens, says Sefer Selimi the president of NGO Shpresa.
NGO Shpresa, a disable people organization established in 2012 has more than 500 members from all disability categories. The organization is established as a response to the lack of institutional support and available services for people with disabilities.
They are lacking the necessary support and confidence that they too are equally valuable citizens in the community.
– Inclusion not segregation is the key, says Sefer Selimi. What would have happened to me, if I didn’t have the opportunity to learn in regular school and be employed? Would I be here, continuously learning and improving my skills, standing here with all of you? It is highly unlikely.
The ICLD training program on development with a rights based approach had the exact message that the project team wanted to share in its local community.
More specifically, that disability is a human rights issue arising most commonly from a breakdown in communication between the person concerned and the wider community. Viewing disability from a human rights perspective is a change in the way all sectors of society consider persons with disabilities: no longer as recipients of medical care and charity or objects of others’ decisions, but holders of rights.
The Municipality of Čair and the NGO Shpresa have been working together to develop a local action plan for inclusion of people with disabilities. It will serve as the base for the future activities towards the equal opportunities and the full participation of the people with disability living in the municipality of Chair.
One of the areas that the LAP targeted is this project objective, which is to increase the participation of children with disabilities in sport activities.
The specific goals that the project is trying to reach are:
– Identification and support of talented athletes with disabilities
–Increasing the participation of children with disabilities in sports matches
– Increasing public awareness about sport for disabled children and developing educational programs to increase the number of trainers who work with disabled children.
– We were very impressed how institutions are responding to the needs of differently abled people in Sweden, it`s about time that our institutions also start looking at them as partners and active citizens, not only as a social welfare category, say Sefer Selimi, who are part of the team and participants of the international training program run by ICLD.
After returning from Sweden, with even more motivation and enthusiasm the team focused on enabling opportunities for people with disabilities to be able to do sport, recreate and demonstrate that “We also can win”, as the project moto is.
So far, the project team managed to provide accessible sports halls and sports equipment for people with disabilities and organize different kind of events to promote and support their inclusion in sport and recreational activities.
– So, my message wherever I go is: we can do it, if the society provide us with equally accessible opportunities, says Sefer Selimi.