Thursday, 16 June 2022

Rijeka Beaches to be Adapted to Those With Disabilities Later in 2022

June the 16th, 2022 - Rijeka beaches are set to be better adapted to those with various physical disabilities following the end of this year's main swimming season.

As Morski writes, as part of the preparations for local Rijeka beaches for the main summer swimming season, which began on June the 1st, special attention was paid to people with disabilities this year as well.

In the City of Rijeka, locals are especially proud of Kostanj beach, which, they say, is one of the best equipped beaches in the entire Mediterranean for this purpose, and from where people with disabilities of all ages can easily move around and functionally use the entire space for swimming, rehabilitation and rest.

All of the surfaces on this particular beach have been fully treated in order to prevent people from slipping or falling, and the beach itself is equipped with special equipment: a device for lowering immobile people down into the sea below, a ramp for entering the sea, toilets, showers, handrails and a safety net placed in the part of the sea for swimming. In the immediate vicinity of the beach, there is also an easily accessible and separate carpark.

In order to ensure safe conditions for the use of local Rijeka beaches for people with all forms of disabilities, from June the 1st to September the 31st, the City of Rijeka is financing the work of specially trained lifeguards.

In order to reduce the pressure on Kostanj beach, the plan is to turn the western part of Ploce beach, located just below the famous Kantrida pools, into a beach for people with disabilities. However, the works on adapting the western plateau of Ploce beach to people with disabilities, whose value is estimated at 457,000.00 kuna, have not even started yet because no valid bids have been received for the two public tenders, so the works will have to start after this year's summer swimming season comes to an end later on.

Regarding the quality of the sea water at local Rijeka beaches, a look into which is conducted ten times a year, Kostanj beach continuously records excellent quality sea water, while Ploce beach, where the sea quality is tested at two points, the water is mostly of excellent quality, read a statement from the City of Rijeka.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 12 June 2022

Methodology Change Increases Number of Persons With Disabilities by 115,000

ZAGREB, 12 June 2022 - Even before the latest price hikes poverty and social exclusion were some of the burning problems faced by persons with disabilities, Ombudswoman for Persons with Disabilities Anka Slonjšak said in an interview with Hina, noting that in the past two years their number has increased by 115,000.

In January 2020, there were 497,000 people in the national register of persons with disabilities while in March 2022 their number was 612,000, which is a significant figure considering that according to the 2021 census, Croatia has a population of some 3.9 million.

The Croatian Public Health Institute, which is in charge of the register, says that the increase is due to a change in data collection methodology, after in 2020 it had access, for the first time, to the complete data base of the Institute for Expertise, Professional Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities, Slonjšak said.

New law on register in force as of 11 June

The new law on the register of persons with disabilities, which took effect on 11 June, should enable a better coverage of data on persons with disabilities and a faster and better exchange of data from all available official records.

Slonjšak expressed regret that most of her proposals, presented during public consultation on the new law, had not been accepted, and in that context pointed to proposals regarding the creation of conditions for the introduction of a European disability card.

She said that currently the biggest problems faced by persons with disabilities were poverty and social exclusion.

Slonjšak said that poverty and social exclusion were among the most pressing problems of that community even before the latest price hikes, and in 2021 one-fifth of all complaints to her office concerned access to social benefits and housing and to disability or material deprivation-related rights.

Social as well as disability benefits have so far been low and insufficient to cover the basic cost of living, and in the context of current price hikes and inflation the situation has become even more difficult, she says.

"The long-awaited minimum increases in individual benefits in February 2022 have already been annulled by inflation," she says.

Waiting for inclusion allowance

Slonjšak welcomed the government's measures intended for the general population and the HRK 250 increase in disability allowance (monthly disability allowance amounts to HRK 1,750) as well as the increase in the allowance for vulnerable energy buyers, but stressed that overall, they had not significantly improved the standard of living for persons with disabilities, which was why they expected additional help.

Asked about laws on personal assistants and disability inclusion allowance, whose adoption has been announced for a long time, the ombudswoman said that they were expected to be adopted in the last quarter of this year but that their adoption had been announced many times in the past ten years and that it was therefore difficult to say if they would be adopted by then.

"The law on personal assistants would help resolve problems airing from the fact that it is a service that over the past 15 years has been secured exclusively through projects launched by nongovernmental organisations while disability inclusion allowance, a cash benefit depending on the type and severity of disability, should contribute to improving the living standards and social protection of persons with disabilities", Slonjšak said.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 29 May 2022

Dubrovnik-Neretva Beaches More Accessible for People With Disabilities

May the 29th, 2022 - Three Dubrovnik-Neretva beaches are now more accessible to people with various forms of physical disabilities thanks to a new move within the wider MIMOSA project.

As Morski writes, three Dubrovnik-Neretva beaches have now finally been properly and safely equipped with lifts for people with disabilities. They were procured as part of the praiseworthy MIMOSA project.

From this summer season onwards, people with disabilities will be able to enter the sea on three more Dubrovnik-Neretva beaches more easily on the beaches in Orebic, Slano and in Molunat, which lies to the south of the city.

Lifters for people with disabilities have been set up in co-operation with local self-government units to facilitate access to the sea for people with disabilities and people with reduced mobility. The total value of the three lifters installed in the municipalities of Orebic, Konavle and in Zupa Dubrovacka stands at 300 thousand kuna.

The MIMOSA project is otherwise being implemented within the Interreg Italy-Croatia cross-border cooperation programme, and its main goal is to improve the quality, safety and environmental sustainability of coastal transport services by promoting multimodality and connecting multiple forms of transport within the programme area, but also raising the general level of awareness of both citizens and tourists when it comes to offering modern and more environmentally friendly solutions.

Italy aside, Dubrovnik-Neretva County has 369,735.00 euros at its disposal for the realisation of various MIMOSA project activities, and the project activities will be realised by the end of 2022.

As part of the project, a website for cycling tourism in Dubrovnik-Neretva County is being developed, and work is underway to arrange a cyclopoint (centre) in Popovici, which lies to the south of Dubrovnik, which will be equipped with equipment for cyclists.

In addition to all of the above, at nineteen different locations within the county, the installation of nineteen bike service sets and twenty new parking racks for bicycles is planned.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Slonjšak Calls For Enabling Disabled Persons To Exercise Family-Related Rights

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities Anka Slonjšak on Saturday issued a statement on the occasion of International Day of Families, observed on 15 May, emphasising sustainable urban policies, in line with this year's theme, highlighted by the UN for this day: "Families and Urbanization".

The United Nations underscores on its website that "urbanization is one of the most important megatrends shaping our world and the life and wellbeing of families worldwide."

This year’s theme, "Families and Urbanization", aims to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable, family-friendly urban policies.

Slonjšak says that in Croatia, persons with disabilities are still struggling to achieve their fundamental right to a home and life in a family.

Institutionalisation and admission of persons with disabilities to institutions due to an undeveloped network of support that should enable them to live with their families has a devastating impact on entire families and denies disabled persons the right to live with their families, the ombudsman warns in her statement.

Slonjšak particularly warns about the non-availability of non-institutional social and health services in rural communities, which makes families with members with disabilities move to larger urban areas.

The ombudsman says that even though persons with disabilities are guaranteed the right to marriage, the right to found a family, the right to intimate relationships, sexual activities and childbearing and the right to be foster and adoptive parents, those rights often are unattainable for them.

In this context, she raised her voice against the negative stereotype about persons with disabilities not being able to care for children or get married.

She also calls for pro-active measures that will make it possible for persons with disabilities to exercise those rights.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 3 December 2021

Reiner Issues Message on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

ZAGREB, 3 Dec 2021 -  Deputy Parliament Speaker Željko Reiner sent a message on the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Friday, recalling that more than half a million disabled persons live in Croatia.

The disabled account for 12% of the total population, which is almost three times the population of Split, Reiner said in his message.

"It is up to us to ensure that disabled persons have access to all civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights," Reiner said at the start of Friday's sitting of the Sabor.

"May marking this day fulfil its objective and contribute to improving the quality of life for disabled persons, alleviate the consequences of their social exclusion and raise public awareness of their presence in the community and of the problems they encounter," Reiner said, recalling some of the steps Parliament has taken to assist disabled persons.

Following a motion by MP Ljubica Lukačić (HDZ), since October 2017 plenary sessions of the Sabor that are aired on the public television HRT have been interpreted in sign language, and the rostrum has been adapted for disabled MPs.

Reiner recalled that Croatia was the third country in the world to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. "That shows the ability and need of Croatian society to ensure equal opportunities for this special vulnerable section of the population."

For more news, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Croatian Liberato Association Develops Interactive Map for Disabled People

September the 8th, 2021 - The Croatian Liberato Association has been engaged in the praiseworthy project of designing and developing an interactive map for the easier and safer movement of people with various disabilities.

As Novac/Ljubica Vuko writes, back in 2019, Stipo Margic won the first prize for the "Capallble" project at the StartIT @ PICS academy, organised by Split-Dalmatia County as part of the ICT County project. Back then, he was a student of information technology at the University Department of Professional Studies in Split, this summer he defended his final thesis in the field of Internet programming and today he is a professional information technology engineer.

His motto is that ''the world is without borders" and he tries to help other people with disabilities feel the same. Immediately after winning at the StartIT Academy, he and two other colleagues founded the Croatian Liberato Association in December 2019. They wanted to develop a digital map for the safer and easier movement of people with disabilities, to have all the information about accessibility they need and to feel much more safe. They wanted to create routes on the map in order to avoid obstacles and potential injuries, and increase their quality of life. They have succeeded in that, and they are still developing the project.

''I founded the Croatian Liberato Association with two colleagues from my faculty, Mija Matijevic and Ivan Ivancevic, who is no longer involved in the work of the association due to his own private obligations. Our first project is now known as the Liberato Map, an interactive map with information on the accessibility of locations for people with disabilities. With it, we wanted to increase the number of people with disabilities engaged in everyday activities, primarily young people in higher education. Currently, the association has 20 members, and in addition to my colleague Mija and me, final year sociology student Ivana Vladusic is also involved in the daily work of the association,'' explained Stipo Margic, president of the Croatian Liberato Association.

He himself knows well what all people with disabilities face on a daily basis. He ended up in a wheelchair owing to a neurological disease and faced enough obstacles of his own. Very often, as noted on the Croatian Liberato Association’s website, narrow spaces restrict people with disabilities from accessing basic services and goods. Now, in just a few clicks on the screen, people can check if the space they're looking for is accessible to them or not.

The interactive map has been available to the public since the beginning of 2020, first the locations in Split are included, and now it already has maps for three cities. Locations in Omis and Trogir are also included.

The director of the Croatian Liberato Association explained just how they get all the information, with whom they cooperate and whether they're satisfied with the cooperation.

''For locations that are in city, county or state ownership, we first contact them, and for the rest we try to cooperate with local associations such as the Association of the Physically Handicapped TOMS from Trogir, the Agape Association from Omis, while in Split, we have cooperation with the County Association of the Blind, Info zone, the Association of Persons with Disabilities Split (UOSIS), and the Association ZNAKujmo svi,'' stated Stipo.

Speaking about his personal experience and the obstacles he himself encountered, Stipo says that as a person and a student with a disability, his biggest problem, as is also probably the case with others, was bureaucracy, meaning tonnes of paper, and the general ignorance of people.

''As far as interaction is concerned, I personally think that people with disabilities should be louder and say what they need, where they are and what their shortcomings are, etc. because most people without disabilities don't see that and can't do anything until it is pointed out to them. I think that the problem will always be signs and and improper parking until people's consciousness changes,'' stated Stipo Margic.

When asked if other users of the Croatian Liberato Association's innovative interactive map contact them, what their experiences are and what Liberato has made easier for them, Stipo says:

''We're mostly contacted by foreigners or young parents, who point out that they no longer have to send e-mails, call or pray to find out some information about accessibility for themselves or their child(ren). The main question is related to a mobile app and whether there is a possibility to create it. We're very much trying to make the mobile app see the light of day soon, all with the help of the University of Split and the cities where the application is used,'' explained the president of Liberato.

Can Liberato grow into a startup? He answers this question by explaining that he doesn't see LiberatoMap as a startup, but that some other projects of the Association could grow into startups.

''We give our full support and support to colleagues and members of the Association through the Student Entrepreneurship Incubator Kopilica (SPIK @) in the technical aspect while Mr. sc. Ivona Jukic and her colleagues take care of the economic support for students in the development of their ideas,'' said Stipo.

In terms of his personal development and the development of the Croatian Liberato Association, in addition to winning the StartIT competition back in 2019, their participation in the Google Adwards and in the Student Entrepreneurship Incubator at the Faculty of Economics, the University of Split was significant.

They also participated in the Academy of Regional Development and EU Funds, which was initiated by the competent ministry. They are currently members of the incubators SPIK @ and SplitX Hub, accelerators for startups, and more recently - Digital Dalmatia.

The support of the University Department for Professional Studies is extremely important to the Croatian Liberato Association, which also provided them with space to work and the support of the Student Union and the Student Centre.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.