Issuu on Google+

A J OI N T I N I TIAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS O F DENMA RK

CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

i

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2 recipes for a thriving civil society in UKRAINE

http://csdp.org.ua


This issue is prepared within the framework of the UNDP Civil Society Development Programme and funded by the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Opinions, conclusions or recommendations are those of the authors and compilers of this issue and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations Development Programme or other UN agencies.

TABLE OF CONTENT

Success stories: Recipes for a Thriving Civil Society in Ukraine. Issue 2. Kyiv. UNDP, 2012. pp. 34 Stories that were included into this collection of successful practices of civil society organizations (OSCs), emanated from projects, implemented in seven regions of Ukraine (Chernihiv, Donetsk, Kherson, Khmelnytskyi, Kirovohrad, Lviv, and Luhansk) during 2011 – 2012. Stories contained in this brochure, narrate about CSOs activities in the area of protecting human rights and promoting the interests of vulnerable groups of people. They also deal on the positive transformations that occurred among both individuals and groups alike as a result of project activities. All materials of this brochure maybe reproduced in part or as a whole. Reproduction materials should contain a reference to the UNDP Office in Ukraine. United Nations Development Programme expresses its gratitude to the authors of these stories: Valetyna Badyra, Alla Lepekha, Hryhoriy Kalashnikov, Tatyana Barantsova, Oksana Potymko, Volodymyr Shcherbachenko, Galina Avksentieva, Valentyna Diomkina, Victor Tarasov, Natalia Piddubna, Oleksandr Bukalov, Olena Kravchenko, Vasyl Romanyuk; editors: Serhiy Chemerkin and David Shaw; designer: Yuliya Madinova. The Civil Society Development Programme (CSDP) aims at a strengthened civil society promoting democratic governance. The Programme promotes an open and democratic society founded on the rule of law and based on human rights and governance transparency and accountability both nationally and regionally. The CSDP will ensure that civil society organizations (CSOs) can become stronger, diminish their dependency on the donor community, and enhance citizen participation in policy processes by developing the capacity of CSOs at the regional and local level to effectively address citizens’ needs. CSDP is funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by the UNDP Ukraine during 2009 – 2012. More information on Project’s activities may be viewed at http://csdp.org.ua. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. In Ukraine, three development focus areas define the structure of UNDP’s assistance activities. These include democratic governance and local development; prosperity, poverty reduction and MDGs and energy and environment. In each of these thematic areas, UNDP ensures balance between policy and advocacy work, capacity building activities and pilot projects. UNDP established its presence in Ukraine in 1993 /www.undp.org.ua/.

Address: 20 Esplanadna St., Office 709, Kyiv 01023 Ukraine Telephone: +38 (044) 584-34-71

Service Company Wants your Money? We Might be Able to Help

6

People of Chernihiv and the region get their rights back

8

Public Lawyers Defend Property and Land Rights

10

We are What We Drink? Or We Drink What We Are to?

12

Valentyna Apanasenko wins back justice after 6 years 

14

UNDP Helps to “Declassify” the General Plan of the City of Luhansk 

16

Convicted, Never to be Pardoned?

18

Presumption of Innocence: Myth of Fantasy?

20

Guilty or not guilty? Yes…No…Maybe…

22

Do for Us with Us to Ensure Excellent Results!

24

Limited Abilities Do Not Limit the Abilities

26

Innovative Technologies for Handicap Learners Duly Acknowledged 

28

Per aspera ad inclusio!*

30

Orphans Master Independent Life Skills with UNDP Support

32

List of Organizations

34

http://csdp.org.ua


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

DEAR READER, I am pleased to present the second issue of a compilation of success stories, demonstrating activities of Ukrainian civil society organizations (CSOs) in 2011-2012 in support of protection of human rights. This collection is dedicated to sharing the achievements of Ukrainian civil society organizations in enhancing and promoting human rights across a wide array of issues and thematic areas. Protection of human rights is key to successful social and economic development of any country. It is especially important in Ukraine’s transition from its Soviet past towards a free and open society, where individual human rights are honored and accounted for. Improving individual rights is also of pivotal significance for Ukraine’s EU aspirations.

Overall, the work of 28 human rights organizations, implementing their projects in Chernihiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, Lviv, Kirovohrad, Khmelnytskyi, and Kherson oblasts, and supported by the Civil Society Development Programme of UNDP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, have supported over 15,294 individuals whose rights have been protected or promoted. The fact that the majority of their interventions targeted vulnerable groups makes such impact especially valuable. In some cases, civil society organizations were able to scale up their human rights initiatives from grass-root level to the regional and national level. This second compilation would not have been possible without the dedicated work of civil society organizations and their main actors. It is my hope that you will find these stories interesting and illustrative. I trust that they will inspire you to continue advancing the human rights agenda in Ukraine.

Examples of CSO initiatives in the area of human rights protection vary from raising public awareness about the pressing issues of inaccessibility to education, resources, and infrastructure by people with special needs, to helping disadvantaged rural communities protect their land and property rights. The stories also feature numerous cases of ensuring adequate access to a fair and impartial justice system as well as the right to access public information at the local level.

Olivier Adam UNDP Resident Representative

4

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

http://csdp.org.ua

5


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

SERVICE COMPANY WANTS YOUR MONEY? WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP

Fortunately for Nadiya, she came across a hotline that had been set up within UNDP’s project Access to Justice for Socially Vulnerable Citizens – Consumers of Utilities’ Services in the Luhansk District. ‘Chaika’, the Luhansk human rights organisation partnering UNDP, gave her legal advice and support, and represented her in court at the appeal. The case against Nadiya was subsequently dismissed. Since the project’s inception, over thirty five individuals have appealed to ‘Chaika’ for help. The total amount of money returned has topped UAH 78.652,91 or UAH 4.140,00 per defendant. Forty- five percent higher than the average salary in Ukraine.

A

UNDP supported project is helping Ukrainians challenge and overturn unfair court rulings related to service providers. Thanks to the Luhansk oblast human rights organization ‘Chaika’ which administers the project and dispenses legal and consultative assistance, nineteen court rulings have been overturned, whilst a further nine are under revision in the local municipal court or Court of Appeal.

Until now, judges have been ignoring the three-year claim prescription period, the lack of agreements between service providers and consumers in addition to questionable tariffs. There have also been instances when service providers have claimed non-existent debts. Despite this and other ambiguous evidence, and in the absence of the defendant, judges often pass rulings, obliging the debtor to reconcile the outstanding debt. A case in point is 86- year-old Nadiya M., a former school teacher and carer for her ill son. Both reside in a two-room apartment in a building that has not seen substantial refurbishment for around half a century. The apartment lacks adequate heating, the basement has created the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and the stairs and hallways are shabby. The quality of the running water meets only industrial standards yet residents are still forced to pay the higher drinking-water tariff. For an elderly widow, war and concentration camp survivor, a challenging life making ends meet on a modest salary pension was only exacerbated by the Artemivsk Court’s decision. It ruled in favour of the claimant for the repayment of an outstanding debt of UAH 1.108,93 for housing services. These ‘services’ had either never been delivered or been of a questionable quality. Appeals, protests and petitions to the service providers from Nadiya M’s son and other residents fell on deaf ears.

Highlights • The total amount of money returned (ca. UAH 80.000 or USD 10.000) has almost equaled the size of the grant, competitively awarded by UNDP to the ‘Chaika’ human rights organization and still continues to grow. • The project findings have been made available via the regional newspaper and regular consultative publications have begun to attract more customers seeking help regarding unfair court decision. • The total number of individuals who received legal counseling during the project implementation time has reached 1.105.

Ms. Nadiya M. receives legal advice from “Chaika” on her consumer rights Photo: Vasyl Romanyuk

6

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

http://csdp.org.ua

7


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

PEOPLE OF CHERNIHIV AND THE REGION GET THEIR RIGHTS BACK

O

Her appeals to the newly established agricultural firm that controlled the former collective farm land or to the village council did not bring any results. Following a string of unsuccessful attempts on behalf of Ms. Fastovets to return her legitimate right for a land share, the Chernihiv Human Rights Protection Committee lodged a claim with the Governor’s Office, Chernihiv Department of Land Resources, and the Prosecutor’s Office to renew the violated rights of Ms. Fastovets and her mother.

ne of the current laws of Ukraine sets out the entitlement of ‘Children of War’, another vulnerable category of people born between 1927 and 1945, to state support. Despite the modesty of the amount, which constitutes UAH 230,00 per month, the intricate red tape creates numerous barriers which either prevent such payments all together, or reduce it to the lowest possible amount of UAH 49,90.

For the majority of these citizens, who live in poverty with their pensions as the only sources of monthly income, such compensatory payments become vitally important. The issue is exacerbated when it comes down to people whose situation is even more vulnerable. The group in focus is the rural population who experience a more severe lack of information and whose legal awareness is very low. Their pension allowance does not offer them a decent living and making ends meet is their daily goal. They cannot afford a lot of things let alone hiring a lawyer in the hope of getting what they are entitled to. The project, started by the Chernihiv Human Rights Protection Committee and supported by the UNDP Civil Society Development Programme, was as timely as ever. It was aimed at ‘the Protection of the Human Rights of the Rural Population and Landowners by Improving their Access to Justice in the Chernihiv Region’. The morning after the project was launched and information about it was distributed via the media, the office of the Committee was besieged by dozens of senior citizens, including those from both nearby and distant villages seeking help. The next couple of months kept the three lawyers of the Chernihiv Committee busy providing free legal advice and assistance to needy rural communities. The scope of their activities did not only include legal counseling on re-obtaining state compensatory payments but also advocated for other such vital rights of rural citizens associated with land property issues. Coming across a newspaper notice on free legal consultations to rural citizens, had Ms. Natalia Fastovets, a resident of a distant village, made her journey all the way to the oblast capital for obtain first-hand and most importantly free legal services by the Chernihiv Human Rights Protection Committee. After her retirement in the early 1990’s her mother and her, who also was a collective farm employee, were entitled to their land share as the collective farm collapsed. Yet, neither she nor her mother were made aware of this opportunity. As other community members began obtaining their land certificates, she realized her rights and the rights of her mother had been violated.

8

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

As a result, Ms. Fastovets and her mother were allocated their land shares within their community, which has already started to benefit their wellbeing.

Highlights • During the nine months of project implementation, the Chernihiv Human Rights Protection Committee provided over 120 consultations and court claims on behalf of disadvantaged rural citizens regarding rights violation • Court decisions favored approximately 95% of all claims received from claimants within the rural population • The Chernihiv Human Rights Protection Committee is the sole body in the Chernihiv region providing free legal aid to disadvantaged rural communities.

Lawyer of the Chernihiv Human Rights Protection Committee provides legal consultations to rural community Photo: Victor Tarasov

http://csdp.org.ua

9


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

PUBLIC LAWYERS DEFEND PROPERTY AND LAND RIGHTS

T

he inheritance process is rather complicated and long-winded. On occasion citizens might not be capable of sorting out its ambiguity while settling inheritance matters. Public notaries do not facilitate legal literacy among the population, and their actions can enjoy a greater responsibility when counseling citizens as they apply to them with various inheritance requests. Luckily, there are civic organizations which offer free legal consultations to vulnerable groups of people. Ms. I. got into such a situation, when attempting to formalize the inheritanceof a house where she was registered and had lived with her father for a long time. After her father’s death she continued to reside in the house making sure it was properly maintained and bills were paid. After some time, when she finally applied to the notary office to formalize her inheritance, herapplication was turned down. The reason she was given was the length of time which had expired after her father’s death before she made her application, this was regardless of the fact that she was actually pursuing her legal rights to the property. The situation was aggravated by the fact she had other siblings who also formally had become heirs after father’s death. After the disappointing meeting with the notary, Ms. I. applied to Civic Advocacy Centre in Lviv where she was advised that such a refusal by the public notary was unlawful, since according to the law it is important for the heir to take ownership. Besides, other siblings did not pursue their share within the legally allocated time, were not registered in the house, and did not pursue ownership rights. Hence, according to the law, they had refused to accept her right to inheritance, by not taking any actions that would prove otherwise. A lawyer of the Civic Advocacy Centre however, helped Ms. I prepare a claim, requesting a certificate be issued regarding her inheritance and submitted it to the state notary office. Soon after, Ms. I. was issued with an inheritance certificate.

As a result of all the confusion Ms. L. applied to the Civic Advocacy Center where she found out that the a missing cadaster number of a land lotis not grounds to deny the issuing of inheritance certificatesand in the certification of wills. Such a conclusion could have been easily drawn by researching the relevant legal acts on inheritance. In addition, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine had previously issued a special explanatory note on the inheritance matters, circulated among regional Departments of Justice, requesting the latter to bring the notice to the attention of public notaries. There were no legal acts to make the inclusion of the land cadaster number mandatory when formalizing inheritance or issuing inheritance certificates. A lawyer from of the Civic Advocacy Center accompanied Ms. L. to the office of the public notary, which eventually resulted in the issuance of a land inheritance certificate.

Highlights • The ‘Legal Education and Legal Literacy for Vulnerable Groups of People’ project, implemented by the Civic Advocacy Center provided nearly 1500 legal consultations to vulnerable groups of people, including the rural population; • The Civic Advocacy Centre offers both primary and secondary consultations (writing various procedural documents; representation of citizens in court or other official bodies). Every second appeal to the Civic Advocacy Centre is about violation of property rights.

Ms. L. encountered similar problems with obtaining a certificate for land inheritance. A public notary denied issuance of her land inheritance certificate, as the testator’s land certificate used an old format that was missing a land cadaster number. Following the public notary’s recommendation, Ms. L. applied to the City Land Office to re-issue the document. Surprisingly enough it turned out that another land certificate under a similar number already existed in the City Land Cadaster but issued for a different lot, which had been already sold. Therefore, Ms. L. was further advised to apply to court with a claim for recognition of property rights.

Ms. Natalia Pidddubna of the Chernihiv Human Rights Protection Committee provides legal consultations to rural community. Photo: Victor Tarasov

10

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

http://csdp.org.ua

11


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

WE ARE WHAT WE DRINK? OR WE DRINK WHAT WE ARE TO?

Following the investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office pressed criminal charges based on the Part 1 Article 242 and Part 3 Article 365 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. An investigation is currently in progress. Building on the estimated calculation conducted by the Kyiv Region State Environmental Inspection, the total damage caused to the environment amounts to UAH 2.045,5 thousand.

L

ife is a combination of choices. Sometime we chose without even realizing it. Sometimes it’s a conscious decision. Very often in our modern world with its constantly changing technology it’s more of what choice to make versus making it or not. Hence, if the choice is not available or, even worse, it’s imposed by someone, then there arises a natural feeling of resentment and unwillingness to follow. This is especially true, when it concerns one’s health or the health of those dear to someone.

It’s a fact that a human body consists of around 80% water. Hence, the quality of water consumed directly affects the whole body. The residents of Fastiv, a town in the Kyiv oblast, were able to test this statement from personal experience. The water they consumed was taken from the river Snitynka when its quality was below any reasonable standards as the local water treatment plant kept failing to treat it. Numerous requests, appeals, and complaints to the water treatment plant director and city officials fell on deaf ears. The water kept being polluted, environmental legislation violated, and people were becoming less and less optimistic that something could be changed. Once contacted by the Fastiv residents, the ‘Environment-People-Law’ NGO (EPL) deployed a defense strategy to protect the environmental rights of its citizens. EPL has been active for almost twenty years now in the protection and promoting of environmental rights, operating in the field of environmental protection, by maintaining, improving, and renewing the environment, as well as providing legal counseling on other rights, while primarily focusing on environmental rights. To assist the Fastiv residents with protecting their rights, EPL applied to the Fastiv District Prosecutor’s Office and the Kyiv Region State Environmental Inspection with a request to stop the pollution of water bodies in the area.

Highlights • Within the fame of the UNDP-supported project ‘Enhancing the Legal Conditions and Mobilizing the Public to Protect Citizens’ Environmental Rights’, the ‘Environment-People-Law’ NGO provided over 300 free legal consultations on countering the violation of environmental rights; • Based on the advocacy and lobbying activities, aimed at mobilizing other environmental NGOs to counter negative effects on environment as a result of passing of amendments to the ‘Law on Alignment of Land Code of Ukraine with Subsoil Code of Ukraine’ of by the Parliament, the President of Ukraine vetoed the Law.

Fastiv District Prosecutor’s Office and Kyiv Region State Environmental Inspection discovered a violation of water legislation on the part of the Fastiv Water Treatment Plant. The investigation also revealed an excessive discharge of pollutants into water bodies. The response letter from the Prosecutor’s Office read that ‘having abused authority, the officials of the water treatment plant took a decision to discontinue the work of the blower station to save electricity, despite the necessity of all the mechanisms, equipment, and measuring devices to run uninterrupted. As a result, an active sludge, which was essential for biological treatment of sewage waters, died in sewage treatment air tanks. This caused the pollution of the surface waters of the river Snitka and became an environmental hazard’.

Snitka river, a tributary of Unava river just outside Fastiv, Kyiv oblast Photo: Olena Kravchenko

12

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

http://csdp.org.ua

13


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

VALENTYNA APANASENKO WINS BACK JUSTICE AFTER 6 YEARS

“I am confident now”, - maintains Mrs.Valentyna Apanasenko, – “that the decision the Court adopted fully supports me, so I will not hear any more from my neighbor along the lines of ‘you may not walk here’ or ‘this does not belong to you’.”

I

Highlights

n recent years Ms. Valentyna Apanasenko was left with little hope to be able to use part of a garden that belonged to her by law. The Apanasenkos, an elderly couple living in the suburbs of Chernihiv, had exhausted all avenues and funds attempting to prove their right to their share of the garden bordering their home. The share that they were legally entitled to was unfairly and unlawfully snatched by their neighbours whilst the Apanasenkos attempted to establish their claim.

• Within UNPD-supported project ‘Protection of the Human Rights of the Rural Population and Landowners through Enhancing Access to Justice in the Chernihiv Oblast’ the Chernihiv Public Committee of Human Rights provided over 700 free legal consultations. A percentage of this group also received representation in court.

The Apanasenkos had explored and employed all possible legal means to exercise their rights, from appealing to the local authorities to addressing various agencies and officials, but all without any tangible result. By law the family was entitled to two thirds of the garden but it took the Apanasenkos some six years to prove this. Ms. Apanasenko was lacking both the confidence and funds necessary to take the case to court and had almost given up, accepting the fact that bullies get what they want until, one day, she came across an announcement in the local newspaper that offered free legal advice. Supported by the UNDP Civil Society Development Programme, the Chernihiv Public Committee of Human Rights, established an office that delivered free legal counseling as part of the project ‘Protection of the Human Rights of the Rural Population and Landowners through Enhancing Access to Justice in the Chernihiv Oblast’. Within the framework of this activity the lawyers of the Chernihiv Public Committee of Human Rights represented the claimant both in court and during the construction and technical investigation, commissioned by court. Unfortunately the court did not uphold the claim, while ignoring a lot of proof and overseeing the procedural order of investigating the case. The Committee’s lawyers were unanimous in recognizing that the Court’s decision was ungrounded. The circumstances of the case were not properly investigated and some evidential facts not considered. Moreover, the Court ruling violated substantive and procedural laws giving the Court of Appeal grounds to overrule. On the 16th of December 2011 the six year battle came to an end when the Chernihiv Oblast Court of Appeal overruled the decision of the Court of the First Instance and passed a decision in favour of the claimant, Ms. Valentyna Apanasenko. According to Victor Tarasov, the Head of the Chernihiv Public Committee of Human Rights, the majority of citizens do not have the opportunity to apply for legal help or hire a lawyer due to a variety of social and economic reasons. It is then that the work of public organizations becomes invaluable, especially with the support of international organizations such as the UNDP, and the free legal advice they offer to vulnerable groups of people.

14

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

Mrs. Valentyna Apanasenko observes her garden, which she got back after the Court’s decision Photo: Vasyl Romanyuk

http://csdp.org.ua

15


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

UNDP HELPS TO “DECLASSIFY” THE GENERAL PLAN OF THE CITY OF LUHANSK

while free and unlimited access by the public ensures no unlawful and non-transparent deals are made regarding the town’s land zoning and construction. Following the adoption of the four disputed issues in the General Plan at the discretion of City Council Members, ignoring the recommendations of the Conciliatory Commission, the community activists made a collective appeal to court to cancel the adoption of the four disputed issues by the City Council.

W

hen it became apparent that the Luhansk City Council had an intention to adopt the General Plan for the city of Luhansk in an expedient manner and bypass public hearings, the East-Ukrainian Centre for Civic Initiatives sounded an alarm. According to Volodymyr Shcherbachenko, Manager of ‘Active Communities – Safe Cities’ project, Ukrainian citizens were unlawfully deprived of the right to access the General Plans of their towns. For instance, a citizen must be able to buy an apartment or build a house near the park to be able to take walks with the family without the risk of someone deciding five years later to build a car park or worse still a night club there. That is why people deserve to know what to expect in the future and how the city will develop. Just until recently the General Plan of Luhansk was rated ‘secret’ but now it has been downgraded to ‘classified’. Due to the persistence of civic activists whose initiative enjoyed the support of UNDP Civil Society Development Programme this document became more accessible to the city residents. Some extracts from the General Plan followed by the expert comments were published in the local council’s ‘Nasha Gazeta’ newspaper. Moreover, the City Council published high resolution maps and plans on its web page. ”Categorizing the General Plan, which spells out the use and zoning of the municipal land as ‘Classified’ carries a risk of corruption. This impedes economic development and diminishes the investment attractiveness of the local communities,” maintains Mr. Volodymyr Shcherbachenko, Head of the East Ukrainian Centre for Civic Initiatives. Within the project ‘Active Communities – Safe Cities’, the East Ukrainian Centre for Civic Initiatives called a working informational meeting to devise a strategy of involvement for citizens to be active in the discussion and development of the city’s General Plan. The next two weeks saw the delivery of a massive educational and information campaign aimed at raising awareness of the issues raised among the local communities and local authorities. As a result, some 30 proposals to the draft General Plan were elaborated upon and submitted to the local authorities followed by the first Public Hearing on the matter, bringing together over 400 residents.

Although the court decision is pending, it is still vital for the general public to realize that such important decisions must not be adopted in a non-transparent manner, ignoring the interests of the citizens and communities they concern. This example demonstrates that residents and communities are willing and able to decide how the city is to develop, regardless of the fact that it may take time and tremendous effort. “This is a good example of participatory community action that feeds the development of civil society in Ukraine”, says Mr. Shcherbachenko.

Highlights • Throughout the life of the project (approximately nine months) the East Ukrainian Centre for Civic Initiatives managed to conduct an effective media and awareness campaign that resulted in over 130 articles published in local and regional media; • The adoption of the new General Plan with 4 pending recommendations of the Conciliatory Commission is sure to have direct or indirect implications for the lives of 500.000 residents of the city of Luhansk.

This allowed for 58 community activists, including a Project Manager and Project Lawyer, to form the Conciliatory Commission that would settle disputed issues within the Draft General Plan. Such persistent work resulted in an introduction to the Draft General Plan of the majority of recommendations by the Conciliatory Commission, except for four issues. These issues related to the reconstruction of a suburban residential area, establishment of a market place, land zoning and the preservation of the ‘Hostra Mohyla’ town memorial from unlawful construction. The General Plan now clearly articulates town strategy,

16

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

Community activists protest against non-transparent adoption of the Luhansk General Plan by the City Council Photo: Volodymyr Shcherbachenko

http://csdp.org.ua

17


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

CONVICTED, NEVER TO BE PARDONED?

In addition, the Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Centre sent an appeal to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine regarding the unlawful nature of the Order in question, and on the 14th of February 2011 obtained a response that the Order in question ‘violated the rights, freedoms, and interests of the persons with a probationary sentence’. In addition, an Order was passed violating the law on the state registration procedure of legal acts. Following this, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine ordered the State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine to dismiss Order #19/713KM.

O

n the 13th of February 2009 the State Committee on Execution of Punishment (renamed ‘The State Penitentiary Service’ by the Presidential Decree of the 9th of December 2010) sent its regional departments an Order (#19/713KM) ‘On the Provisional Registration of Offenders Released on Parole and the Monitoring of their Conduct’.

This order has been carried out for the past two years by the respective regional departments. The document however contradicts the legal norms, stipulated in the Criminal Code of Ukraine and violates the rights and freedoms of offenders, who were sentenced to community service (correctional work), placed under a curfew or received a probationary sentence. In particular, ex-convicts released on a parole are not required to undergo any further control with criminal executive inspection according to Article 81 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Moreover, this document was not endorsed by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine in accordance with required procedure. The Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Centre, who have been implementing a UNDP-supported project aimed at the protection of female convicts and ex-convicts, learned about the obligation for Ms. Olena Yerokhina’s to have a monthly ‘check-in’ with her parole officer by an accident. She has been attending these meetings for two years and is one of around forty thousand offenders who were released on parole in 2009-2010 required to do so.

Highlights • Some forty thousand people annually with probationary sentences, whose rights have been violated for two years by the unfair Order of the State Penitentiary Service, were relieved from having to make regular check-in visits to their parole officers thanks to the work of Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Center.

Other oblasts, at their own discretion, stipulated that these check-ins to verify the parolees’ whereabouts must be undertaken on a weekly basis which aggravated the general situation even more. For individuals, unfamiliar with Criminal law, this might not be of any concern, but for the professional legal practitioners at the Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Centre and for some 40 thousand parolees it has been. The violations of the rights of offenders with probationary sentences were becoming to be more apparent. In February 2011 the Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Centre lodged an appeal with the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine regarding the contradictory and unlawful nature of Order #19/713KM. The General Prosecutors Office of Ukraine reviewed the appeal and forwarded it to the State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine for scrutiny. Ms. Olena Yerokhina during a consultation at the Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Center Photo: Alla Lepekha

18

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

http://csdp.org.ua

19


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE: MYTH OF FANTASY?

A few days later, the Mariyinsky Court passed a decision (contrary to the position of the Prosecutor’s Office) that he could be released from custody under a travel ban until the final verdict in his case. Hence, Mr. Mark S. - a defendant and not a convicted criminal – will await his verdict with his family and his little son, who was only a few months old when he was initially detained. Perhaps, this is a scenario for a new film, but hopefully, not for the Soviet-style type.

H

ave you ever noticed how Hollywood crime films differ from ‘our own’ ones? It’s not about theacting or special effects or technology, but rather about simple and plain things, that are fundamental in shaping the notion of what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘wrong’ and where the line is that separates good from evil. So, the climax in the majority of such crime films would often be a court hearing where convictions or acquittals are made. In Soviet-style films though, the plot has a totally different development: the climax ends at the point when ‘criminals’ are arrested by law enforcement. What comes next is quite clear to the audience. Unfortunately, Ukrainian court and law enforcement systems inherited a heavy Soviet legacy. The Soviet authorities made it so that when someone was detained or arrested, there was an instantaneous presumption of guilt. However, individuals who have been detained or arrested are de jure non-guilty before a court passes a verdict. This is in theory while it’s the other way around in Ukrainian practice i.e. the individual has not been convicted or their guilt proven, but they are already being treated as criminals. Sometimes this can last for months. A case in point – Mr. Mark S. – is a good example of this. Detained under the authority of the Mariyinsky Court of Donetsk, Mr. Mark S. was kept in custody for almost a year. Moreover, between November 2010 and September 2011, he wasn’t taken into court a single time and no legal hearing took place. He also was not informed of any developments regarding his case during this time. As it turned out later, after an investigation of the activity, or rather the inactivity of the above-mentioned court, according to the Court Head the delivery of defendants to the Mariyinsky Court of Donetsk was not carried out by the Mariyinsky Police Precinct. This resulted in no court hearings taking place during this time and, consequently, could not be interpreted as a violation. Therefore, Mr. Mark S. had already served almost a year in custody for a crime, which had not been proven only due to someone failing to deliver him to Court to sit at a session, which eventually was postponed by seventy-six, then sixty-nine and later by forty-one days, directly violating the Law (Article 256, Criminal and Procedural Code), envisioning a 10-day period for the Court hearing to occur after the primary case hearing.

Highlights • Anaverage annual number of people keptinpre-trial centers in Ukraine estimates at 38-40 thousand. Only 800 acquittals are passed per year. • Annually around 13-14 thousand individual sare released from custody. Yet it’s not due to their non-guiltiness but because the type of preventive measure was changed, or by the time of their release they would have served their sentence; • During project implementation period the human rights CSO “Donetsk Memorial” provided over 100 free legal consultations to detained persons, persons in custody, or persons released from prison.

During one of the visits to the Detention Center where Mr. Mark S. was kept, the representatives of the human rights organization ‘Donetsk Memorial’ learned about his situation and turned to the Oblast Prosecutors Office for help. This brought no result. Their next step was to apply to the Ukrainian Ombudsperson, who went as far as involving the Ministry of Interior, the General Prosecutor’s Office, and the State Penitentiary Service in the matter.

20

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

Photo: Stepan Rudik

http://csdp.org.ua

21


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY? YES…NO…MAYBE…

Whether it was coincidence or not, this reinstatement of justice contributed to a breakthrough in Maria’s reintegration and weeks later she became happily married and really started a new life.

R

e-socialization is often an issue for a good deal of ex-convicts, especially when red tape creates additional barriers for effective community integration. Opportunities for employment are scarce, and a criminal record makes such chances even more elusive. Let alone, when you do not have any type of ID except for a ‘confirmation of discharge’.

Having completed her sentence and been released on the 22nd of April 2009, Ms. Maria Kozachenko had her internal passport lost during her imprisonment that not only left her citizenship in question but also restricted her from being officially employed and enjoying other citizen rights. After a few weeks she turned for assistance to the Chernihiv Oblast Observation Commission, whose mandate according to the law envisions for trusteeship over ‘Social adaptation of persons who have completed a sentence, have had their liberty restrained or were released on parole’. The Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Centre, being a member of the Observation Commission, has been implementing a UNDP-supported project that aimed at the protection of the rights of women released from jail, decided to assist her after Ms. Kozachenko had for two years failed to obtain a new passport.

Highlights • Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Centre provided free legal assistance to 215 women in Chernihiv Women’s Correctional Facility #44; • 51 people, released from prison, obtained free legal assistance within the frame of Public Liaison Office. The most frequent issue where ex-convicts sought support was recovery of identification documents.

Her appeals to the local Department of Citizenship and Migration were met with responses that accused her of not being a Ukrainian citizen. Following this chain of events, in February 2011 the Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Centre assisted Ms. Kozachenko in filing a claim to the district court to confirm as fact her citizenship. The result ofthe court investigation was a decision confirming that Maria Kozachenko had lived within the territory of Ukraine for an extensive period of time, including the 24th August 1991, the date Ukraine proclaimed its independence and was therefore eligible for Ukrainian citizenship. Unfortunately for Ms. Kozachenko and to the dismay of the Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Centre, the local Department of Citizenship and Migration still denied her a passport. Such violation of rights, urged the Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Centre to appeal to the Minister of the Interior on the 21st of April 2011 for assistance. Within two weeks Ms. Maria Kozachenko was issued with a new internal passport, both proving her citizenship and improving her opportunities to gain employment. Hanna Kozachenko receives consultation at the Chernihiv Women’s Rights Protection Center Photo: Valentyna Badyra

22

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

http://csdp.org.ua

23


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

DO FOR US, WITH US TO ENSURE EXCELLENT RESULTS!

As a result of consultation and oversight of the reconstruction works by ‘Life without Barriers’, the access ramp and the platform were rebuilt to meet the SCS standards. This made ‘Krasna Mohyla’ a model of what a disabled access-friendly railway station should be.

W

hat is the first thing that crosses your mind when you decided to travel by train? Perhaps where and when you want to buy a ticket and what would be the most preferred time of travel… but apparently not when you are in a wheelchair. Unfortunately, the whole travel process centers around one significant issue that is of salient importance. An issue that we, people without disabilities, often tend not to notice, but one that may jeopardize travel itself. It is the issue of accessibility. Will I be able to access the waiting room on my own? Or reach the ticket desk if the window is too high? In a wheelchair will I be able to access the platform or use a toilet? Most importantly, will I be able to board the train itself? These seemingly simple questions still unfortunately present insurmountable barriers for the disabled, people whose problems we often ignore. Yet, the story is not about a dead end. Rather it’s about the activists of one public organization (its members registered disabled) who help the authorities surmount barriers of both a physical and psychological nature. The latter open their eyes to people who, due to their current circumstances are incapable of performing everyday tasks, which the able bodied take for granted. At the end of March the public organization ‘Life without Barriers’ conducted a public audit of the accessibility of the border train station ‘Krasna Mohyla’, in the town Chervonopartyzansk, Luhansk oblast. This audit was conducted within the framework of the ‘Monitoring of the Municipal Programme of Enhancing the Accessibility of Housing and Public Infrastructure to People with Disabilities during 2008-2010’ with support from the UNDP Civil Society Development Programme. The audit results revealed a number of severe violations of state construction standards (SCS) in ensuring accessibility for those with limited mobility. For instance, the disabled access ramp in front of the waiting room and ticket hall did not comply with the SCSs. The design of the railings did not meet standards and lateral safety boards were missing. Most importantly however, after ascending the ramp, the user is faced with a semi-round platform which is almost two times smaller than the required standard size. This makes it impossible to maneuver the wheelchair. Despite the generally access-friendly environment of the waiting hall – the waiting area and tickets windows are readily accessible this does not make boarding or disembarking from the train any easier. Here is another problem, the curb of the platform is thirteen centimeters in height and cannot be crossed by a wheelchair.

‘Krasna Mohyla’ has become the preferred choice for wheelchair users when they decide to leave for the Crimean resorts. Due to its proximity to the border and the customs control procedure which makes the train wait in the station for at least thirty minutes, ample time is available for people with special needs to board. In comparison the Sverdlovsk -Simferopol train en route to Simferopol stops in Sverdlovsk for approximately two minutes, which is an extremely tight timeline for those with mobility issues wishing to board. Bottom line: when something is done for us with us, there’s usually an excellent result, asserts Mr. Kalashnikov, Head of ‘Life without Barriers’ CSO that instituted these changes. Highlights • ‘Life without Barriers’ provided free legal assistance and psychological counseling to over 140 persons with disabilities in town and the neighboring residential areas; • ‘Life without Barriers’ renewed the social taxi service in town and conducted an audit of its rules, procedures and eligibility. Shortcomings discovered were presented to the local authorities for improvement; • The Project conducted the public audit of the municipal social infrastructure facilities to assess their accessibility and actively lobbied improvements for the latter with both national and local authorities.

Following Organization’s recommendations for accessibility improvements Photo: Natalia Smirnova

Shortly after the audit the ‘Life without Barriers’ public organization, using the Ukrzaliznytsia railroad company website, submitted an inquiry regarding the accessibility status of the ‘Krasna Mohyla’ border train station. The following day ‘Life without Barriers’ received a response from Ukrzaliznytsia telling them to send the report to the Donetsk Railroad Department. Just over a week after being contacted the Donetsk Railroad Authorities dispatched a construction team to rectify the issues raised.

24

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

http://csdp.org.ua

25


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

LIMITED ABILITIES DO NOT LIMIT THE ABILITIES

Voiced and Braille instruction were circulated to twenty pharmacies in Lviv. It is expected that the Braille catalogues containing with 103 instructions will be used by customers in the pharmacies, whilst the audio instructions (recorded on a CD) may be taken home by the blind customer and used at their convenience. In this way the project organizers intended to satisfy the needs of as many visually disabled people as possible regardless of their proficiency in the Braille language.

T

ry living for one day with your eyes shut. Doing so will prove to be at the very least difficult but probably impossible. Now imagine that this is the way you have to live every day. In Ukraine, under current circumstances the living and working environment is almost 100% inaccessible for people with visual disabilities. By voluntary giving up of one of your most important senses, ‘sight’ you immediately lose access to some 80% of all available information. This is estimated to be roughly the percentage of information we perceive visually. Whilst other senses may take over the ‘seeing function’, the current environment in Ukraine still remains hostile to people with special needs, making them dependent on other people to provide help with their needs for everyday life. Dependency and the inaccessible environment for the disabled were high on the agenda of the Lviv Oblast Foundation for Social Protection and Rehabilitation of Citizens. Their achievement so far have been nothing but outstanding. Established within the ‘Accessible Lviv through the Eyes of the Blind’ project and supported by UNDP, the Lviv Oblast Foundation for Social Protection and Rehabilitation of Citizens with Visual Handicaps created a precedent, which may contribute to an enabling environment for people with special needs. The Organization launched an initiative, which could drastically change the situation with medicines becoming accessible to people with a visual disability. Owing to the activities of the Lviv Oblast Foundation for Social Protection and Rehabilitation of Citizens, Lviv has become the first Ukrainian town to offer in its pharmacies instructions for medicines that can be accessed by blind users. A few pharmaceutical manufacturers have attempted to make inscriptions in Braille, this shows a positive attitude in addressing the current situation, but the inaccessibility issues of the day to day living environment for people with a visual handicap still remains a pressing concern. The emergence of sound and tactile instructions for medicines has been greeted with long-awaited relief by blind people in Lviv and has already resonated among the visually disabled in other parts of Ukraine. Printed in Braille and read in an audio recording entitled ‘103 Instructions for Medicines’ now allows blind and visually impaired customers to be more confident and remain safe when using them, by obtaining the information themselves when they need it. Moreover, this may limit complications caused by the mass usage of ‘commercialized medicines’ and will offer more freedom of choice. In the current environment, blind people are always dependent on a third party to read out an instruction to them. It is especially critical in situations, when neither pharmacists nor a doctor have enough time to familiarize the patients with lengthy instructions. Hence, having researched local pharmacies in terms of which medicines are most frequently used by people with a visual handicap, and in consultation with pharmacists themselves, a decision was made to select 103 medicines and record ‘voiced instructions’ for them.

26

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

However, overcoming barriers for people with visual disabilities by the Lviv Oblast Foundation for Social Protection and Rehabilitation of Citizenswith Visual Handicap did not end only with audio instructions. In order to contribute to a more enabling and safe living and working environment for blind people, the Organization installed forty-five sound devices on major intersections in town, which, coupled with a traffic lights, have made crossing of a road by a blind pedestrian safe. In addition, the Organization installed twenty sound devices to show people with visual disabilities where entrances to major public facilities were located. Among these are Lviv City Council, Lviv Oblast Administration, the Department of Social Protection, the Solomia Krushelnytska National Opera House, the Maria Zankovetska National Theater, the Hnat Khotkevych Concert Hall and the Oblast Philharmonic Society. From now on, almost half of Lviv traffic lights will be helping people with visual disabilities move around the town safely, while some public facilities have literary and figuratively opened their doors for people with visual handicaps. Most notably, the ‘Accessible Lviv through the Eyes of the Blind’ project was implemented by five people with a visual handicap. Four of them are totally blind and one has residual sight, this demonstrates the unlimited abilities of people with limited ability. Highlights • The Organization promoted the adoption of one legislative act ‘Guidelines for construction of buildings and facilities featuring accessibility elements for people with visual and hearing handicap’ and authored another - resolution by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine # 1234 ‘On Establishing of Special Working Environment for Citizens with Disabilities’; • The organization conducted two chess tournaments where blind competitors challenged sighted opponents and published two collections of poems by blind authors. During the chess tournament between blind competitors and sighted opponents Photo: Mykhailo Petriv

http://csdp.org.ua

27


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR HANDICAP LEARNERS DULY ACKNOWLEDGED

Since the School started over seventy individuals with various types of physical and visual disabilities have signed up for classes. For some individuals, who for certain reasons are not able to attend classes at the Library, the Mobile School trainers conduct home visits. The Project personnel also conduct regular training for other librarians in the oblast on the psychological aspects of delivering library services to persons with physical disabilities.

T

he issue of creating a universally conducive learning environment in Ukraine still remains unresolved. Particularly an environment that, among other things, must account for the special needs of people with various types of handicap is almost unheard of. The issue to improve the near universal inaccessibility of Ukraine’s educational institutions, coupled with both the physical and social isolation of handicap students, still falls into the domain of the state, but it is civil associations, albeit within a local or regional scope, who attempt to alleviate the problem. Established at the end of 2010 by the Luhansk Branch of the Ukrainian Library Association, within the UNDP’s Civil Society Development Programme, the ‘Mobile Computer and Internet Learning Center’ project has achieved some remarkable results. Apart from being innovative, the Mobile School has provided good practical value. The Mobile School aims to assist those people who need their services most – individuals with physical and visual disabilities. It practices a two-tier approach to teaching computer literacy for people with special needs by offering customer-tailored classes both at the library and at homes of the people who are not able to leave their residences for variety of reasons.

Highlights • The Project staff conducted an active information campaign that yielded over twenty articles and announcements in local and regional media, facilitated the production of four TV reports, including a short film on students of the mobile computer learning school;

The first clients of the Mobile School have already acknowledged its practical value. For thirty-three year old Natalia Baburina, who after sustaining an injury has been home-bound for seven years, the opportunity to participate in the Project not only provided her with a chance to re-adjust to normal everyday living and socializing, but also offered her an opportunity for professional development. After taking computer and internet classes, Natalia landed a job from the internet and is now starting a new career as an editor.

• The Project staff has developed and published a ‘Trainer’s Manual on Computer Literacy for Persons with Visual Disabilities’ distributing copies of the manual through its library network; • The ‘Mobile Computer School’ project was recognized for its innovation among fifty-eight exhibiters including libraries and public and private sector organizations at the Kyiv Fair in April last year. The Project was awarded second prize in nomination ‘Innovations of Libraries in Delivering Social Assistance to Vulnerable Groups of People’.

“The opening of the Mobile School is a breath of fresh air and freedom”, Natalia shares her excitement. The Project helped the young woman to fill in the blanks in her knowledge base, developed her skills to utilize internet information resources and improved her ability to work with a computer. “Everyday visits to the library became important to me. This helped me expand my environment, meet more people, including trainers, librarians, and other Project participants”, - Natalia says with optimism. It is due to meeting other school participants that Natalia was offered the chance to record audio books. The Mobile School significance is that it was the first of its kind to offer computer and internet training to people with various types of physical and visual disabilities in the Luhansk and Luhansk oblast at no charge. In addition to this, the Project has employed a visually disabled person, who works as a computer trainer for the blind students.

28

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

Natalia Baburina improves her computer literacy skills Photo: Galina Aksionova

http://csdp.org.ua

29


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

PER ASPERA AD INCLUSIO!* A STORY OF ONE ORGANIZATION THAT DEVELOPS THE RIGHT TO A DECENT LIVING STANDARD FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

special needs, will now be able to receive education in classrooms with their peers and professors, rather than sitting in a cloakroom or staying home.

F

lying to the stars might take rather simple things to begin with. A long journey in pursuit of a dream starts with a first step. The issue of the inclusion of children and youth with disabilities into the regular education process alongside their peers is a very long journey to make in Ukraine. There is a good degree of inaccessibility of educational institutions coupled with the social and physical isolation of people with disabilities. In addition to this, the situation is exacerbated by a low proficiency of students with home education to be able to enter University, physical accessibility barriers at facilities, a judgmental public with stereotypical views, an informational and legal unawareness of students with disabilities, and a lack of special skills on behalf of faculties to teach students with special needs. A long and arduous journey needs to be made to be able to change this situation. Taking the first steps toward this end goal of ‘inclusive education’, Luhansk-based youth organization AMI-SKHID has made significant advancement. AMI-SKHID activists have been able to secure key partners both among local authorities and management of major educational institutions in the region to play a significant role in the process. Yet, it all started some two years ago with a small project the ‘Creation of a Social Partnership toward Accessible Education for People with Disabilities’ that later developed into a subsequent project the ‘Creation of a Complex System of Establishment of Inclusive Education for School and University Faculties As per the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities’. Both initiatives, supported by the UNDP, demonstrated ‘out-of-the-way’ influence over problem perception and found ways to address it. AMI-SKHID elevated a discussion of the issue of inclusion in education to a higher level of awareness involving various stakeholders from the public and private sector. Following the rights promotion and advocacy campaigns, the organization managed to establish a social partnership model to enhance the right of people with special needs to access education. The organization conducted accessibility audits of numerous educational facilities in town while some of the findings triggered immediate results. In response to the need of establishing an enabling environment, the Taras Shevchenko Luhansk National University readily responded to the audit recommendations to alleviate architectural barriers. This University, like the majority of educational institutions in Ukraine, was designed back in 1930-s with much attention to the accessibility needs of disabled students. Hence, the University faced issues of accessibility regarding dormitories, canteens and toilets not to mention right of entry to upper floors, etc. Overseen by AMI-SKHID, the University management, materialized into the construction of access ramps that were built in record time and which met the State Construction Standards, thus making them safe. Therefore, many generations of prospective students, who have

30

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

Governed by the positive dynamics of championing the creation of enabling learning environment and in consultation with AMI-SKHID, the University went as far as the establishment of a Rehabilitation Department for Students with Disabilities, ensuring and enjoying the support of the Luhansk Oblast Fund of Social Protection of People with Disabilities which not only offers medical rehabilitation education but also goes beyond the medical component involving the cross-cutting issues of mentoring activities, encouraging better engagement and socializing of people with special needs. Some instant results already demonstrate the adjusted dormitories for students with special needs, which include accessible toilets and showers. Students also get medical mentoring, while the traffic police ensure the safe and secure pedestrian crossing of students travelling to and from the University facilities. In addition to this, students with disabilities also receive support from students of the Department of Physical Rehabilitation and Life Science who act as volunteers and friends. The University Vice-President Mr. Oleksandr Babichev, who personally ensured and controlled the reconstruction works, shines with optimism: “I am happy to see these young people as their eyes radiate with interest and curiosity. Most importantly, they are no different from other students and are able to sit in classes, visit a canteen or library on their own now. There is still a long way to go, but we are not getting off this road. We shall continue to develop!” All journeys start with one first step… Highlights • Currently some 250 students with different special needs and handicaps are enrolled at the University; • Taras Shevchenko Luhansk National University has been active in addressing the architectural accessibility issue, and the development of innovative programmes to integrate students with disabilities, while introducing inclusive education; • The University has become the first Ukrainian educational institution to establish a Department of Rehabilitation of Students with various learning needs, while involving and engaging the Luhansk Youth NGO AMI-SKHID into the process. Now students with special needs can access classes on their own Photo: Tatiana Barantsova

http://csdp.org.ua

31


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

ORPHANS MASTER INDEPENDENT LIFE SKILLS WITH UNDP SUPPORT

them; my ‘Ego’, my rights and obligations; kitchen; choosing a profession; how to find a job, etc.), but envisage some practical exercises too (laying a table andhosting guests; using housing appliances; cookingand preparing drinks, dairy meals, etc.). The ‘apartment’ is furnished with kitchen furniture, including a dinner table with chairs (for twelve people), a stove, an oven, kitchen extractor fan, a toaster, a food processor, an electrical kettle, a coffee machine, andother kitchen accessories necessary for food preparation and dining (knives, cutting boards, cutlery, set of pots, pans, glasses, cups, plates, etc.), washing machine, iron, and an ironing board.

S

ituated a long distance away from the country’s capital, the ‘Snizhne Secondary Boarding School for Orphansand Children with Arrested Development Devoid of Parental Care’ experiences similar problems to those of its counterparts countrywide: lack of funding, lack of resources, issues of social adaptation of orphans, and other problems pertinent to these disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of children.

As the school year neared its completion and the ‘mock apartment’ was functioning at its full capacity, the Snizhne Boarding School hosted a seminar that brought together educators and management of similar institution from the region and civic activists from throughout the country to share best practice and present successful lessons which could be replicated.

“Children, who are students of boarding schools are completely unprepared for independent living. They lack essential life skills, and do not have access to housing etc.” – stresses Ms. Valentyna Diomkina, Project Coordinator of the UNDP-supported initiative that aims to empower these socially excluded children with essential life skills. Supported within the UNDP small grant facility, the civil society organization partnered with the Snizhne Boarding School for Orphans and Children with Arrested Development Devoid of Parental Care to establish a ‘mock’ apartment within the institution.

Highlights

Some interesting results came when the boarders used the apartment. The children realized that they did not know how to cook. A simple example of this was when some children thought that tea came already sweetened. They didn’t know that sugar could be added as all their lives they had been receiving tea, which was already sweetened. Also, the children did not know how to do laundry or iron their clothes. Hence, during a subsequent field visit school by a social worker,‘ fresh graduates’were discovered wearing soiled clothes as they did not know how to wash them.

• The first graduates have already received training in essential life skills but from now on the school will empower an average of thirty disadvantaged children annually with better levels of social integration.

Tools such as ‘mock apartment’, according to the experts, have been in existence in European countries for a long time nowthus proving their effectiveness. Although Valentyna Diomkina, who also is a director of the Donetsk Youth Debate Centre, learnt about ‘mock apartments’ during a study tour to Poland some three years ago, she was able to replicate best practice only now, when the Organization received support from UNDP. “At that time this was our first experience in learning about such social adaptation tools, where children were taught independent life skills, but now we have managed to establishthis as a platform that will prepare the graduates of the Snizhne Boarding School for independent living”, - says the Debate Centre Director. The mock apartment is located in a separate room within the premises of the Snizhne Boarding School for Orphans and Children with Arrested Development Devoid of Parental Care. Shortly after the ‘apartment’ has been furbished, four groups with thirteen students in each were formed. The one and a half hour-long classes take place two times a week (Saturday and Sunday) and teach essential life skills to graduate students of the boarding school. Classes are not onlylimited to theory (such as: successful communication, communication barriers and ways to avoid

32

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

Boarding School senior students in a cooking class Photo: Andriy Donets

http://csdp.org.ua

33


CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

A J OI N T I N IT IAT IV E O F U N D P AN D T H E M IN IS T RY O F F O RE IG N AF FAIRS OF DENMA RK

34

Implementation period

Contact information

Active Communities For Safe Cities

18/11/2010 18/07/2011

2, 30-kvartal St., Apt. 14 91005, Luhansk uspikh@gmail.com, http://totalaction.org.ua http://facebook.com/totalaction.org.ua

Donetsk Youth Debate Centre

Creating a training apartment to develop independent life skills among students of the Snizhne Boarding School for Orphans and Children with Arrested Development Devoid of Parental Care

06/12/2010 06/10/2011

79/31 Illicha prospect Donetsk 83003 +38-062-385-9839, debate@cent.dn.ua www.cent.dn.ua

Luhansk Oblast Human Rights Women's Organization "Chaika"

“National campaign to protect the rights of vulnerable citizens in countering unlawful court decisions pertaining the relationship in communal housing sphere”

01/06/2011 31/03/2012

1-B Lermontov St., Office 209 Luhansk 91021, +38-0642-530-115, +38-0642-530-115 +38-066-766-99-31

"SKHID" Association of Young People with Disabilities of the Eastern Donbas Region

‘Creation of a Complex System of Establishment of Inclusive Education for School and University Faculties As per the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities’

1/09/2011 30/03/2012

59 Volodarskoho St., Off. 105 Luhansk 91005 +38-0642- 71-9969 ; +38-095- 808-4404 ami-cxid@ukr.net http://ami-cxid.org.ua

"Life Without Barriers" Union of People with Disabilities

Creating an accessible environment for persons with disabilities in the city and district of Sverdlovsk of Luhansk region.

6/12/2010 6/09/2011

2 Kosiora St. Sverdlovsk Luhansk oblast 94800 +38-050- 976-21-87 ; +38-097- 326-6464 schwarzgold@rambler.ru http://behinderte.ucoz.ru

Chernihiv Women's Rights Centre

“Ensuring access to justice for convicted women, adolescents and former convicts through provision of legal assistance

18/11/2010 18/11/2011

P.O. Box 797 м. Chernihiv 14032 +38-04622-331-091 +38-067-457-0763 Badyra_vv@ukr.net; Lepeha_alla@ukr.net

Chernihiv Public Committee of Human Rights Protection

Ensuring respect to human rights of rural landowners and enhancing their access to justice in Chernihiv oblast

18/11/2010 18/11/2011

57/1 Gorkogo St., Chernihiv 14000 +380-462-625-381 info@protection.org.ua www.protection.org.ua

Civic Advocacy Centre

Legal aid and education for socially vulnerable citizens

06/12/2010 06/12/2011

3/13 Rodyny Krushelnitsky St. Lviv 79014 +38-032- 244-4659, +38-097-486-5593 cga@lawngo.net www.cga.in.ua

Civic Organization “Luhansk Regional Department of the Ukrainian Library Association”

Mobile Computer and Internet Learning Center

06/12/201006/12/2011

78 Radyanska St., Luhansk 91053 +38 -0642- 537-384 uba_lugansk@ukr.net http://www.library.lg.ua

Donetsk Memorial

Protection the rights of convicts

18/11/2010 18/11/2011

P.O. Box 4836 Donetsk 83092 + 38-097-907-0649 +38-099-709-5679

“Environment-People-Law”

Legal protection of environmental human rights

18/11/201018/11/2011

P.O. Bох 316 Lviv 79000 +380-322-433888 lena@uoregon.edu http://www.epl.org.ua

Lviv Oblast Foundation for Social Protection and Rehabilitation of Citizens with Visual Handicaps

‘Accessible Lviv through the Eyes of the Blind’

15/08/2011 31/03/2012

81 Horodotska St. Lviv 79016 Tel.: (032) 272-60-66. Fax: (032) 272-60-66 Mob.: (097) 244-06-84

Organization

Project title

East-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives

і

SUCCESS STOR ES ISSUE 2

http://csdp.org.ua

35


Success stories: volume 2