It Is Necessary to Create Decent Conditions for High-Quality Self-Realization of People with Disabilities in Ukraine

Ukraine, in its desire to join the EU, must synchronize its own legislation with the requirements of the European Union, establish such standards and conditions for all groups of people, so that everyone feels comfortable, confident, free, and independent in our state. One such group that needs additional attention is people with disabilities. It is necessary to form new rules of interaction with people with disabilities not in the format of paternalism, pity, but in the format of creating dignified, full-fledged conditions for high-quality self-realization.

This was emphasized by Oksana Zholnovych, Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine during the round table “Employment of People with Disabilities: European Perspectives in Ukraine.”

“We understand that today is a full-scale war, and the destruction that we see every day brings a huge number of injuries, both for our defenders and for the civilian population. After the victory, Ukraine will be a country with a large number of people with various types of disabilities. This is our reality, with which we must: firstly, learn to live, secondly, accept it, thirdly, understand that our society must form new rules of interaction with people with disabilities not in the format of paternalism, pity, handouts, small payments, but in the format of creating decent, full-fledged conditions for high-quality self-realization. We must understand very clearly that every member of our society is a valuable resource that we must use to build a better Ukraine,” said Oksana Zholnovich.

According to her, everyone who needs it will need to be given a full set of tools to ensure high-quality, timely, full-fledged rehabilitation and provide opportunities for retraining and acquiring new additional skills to replace those that cannot be used due to functional limitations. In addition, it is necessary to provide a set of services and support that will allow a person to get a job, realize himself and feel like a full-fledged part of society and bring benefit to our state.

“These are the main tasks that we set before ourselves, as a ministry, as a government, together with the parliament. We understand that the tools used today are unfortunately not very effective. Accordingly, we understand that we need to change, first of all, approaches, rules of interaction. It is necessary to completely change the philosophy and approaches to all types of employment, in particular, people with disabilities,” said the minister.

5 main tasks of the Ministry of Social Policy in the field of employment of persons with disabilities:

  • Increase resources to increase support for people with disabilities. Give employers the opportunity to choose: either he supports people with disabilities with a contribution, or he is ready to fulfill the quota for employing people with disabilities, or he is ready to become a social enterprise, increase the number of people with disabilities in his company and receive additional targeted support specifically for the employment of people with disabilities. This is the first block. It is a priority.
  • The support tools increasing. What is it about? Today, the formal approach to employment of people with disabilities results in the fact that the employer submits vacancies to the employment service, where they write back with a letter that, unfortunately, we do not have people with disabilities for these vacancies. That completes the entire search and employment stage. This does not help anyone, neither the state, nor people, nor employers. Accordingly, we would like that in the process of employment and job search for people with disabilities and support and assistance to businesses that would like to employ such people, we use all possible effective tools. Here we are talking about private employment agencies, which could compete for a person with a disability on an equal footing with the employment service, in order to employ him and maintain the necessary remuneration, if they provide quality, decent, highly paid work for such people.
  • Social support. On the way to work, a person who has lost functioning needs support, readjustment, understanding of his path and regaining faith in himself. For example, about some arrangement of an additional special place, if we are talking about the musculoskeletal system or some other specific limitations of functioning. The employer also needs the same support, because very often he does not know how to interact. Has a large number of fears, prejudices that should be dispelled.
  • The direct support. We have certain tax benefits, etc., but they are in no way tied to a specific person or specific employment. Subsidized jobs, return of a part of earnings, if the employer understands that a person cannot devote himself to full functionality. In our view, this kind of binding and targeting is also extremely important. It will help make the workforce of people with disabilities more interesting for potential employers.
  • Expanding the spectrum of social enterprises. We have wonderful initiatives today. We have small companies, and IT companies, and the companies in the field of service that show wonderful examples of engaging people with mental disorders, engaging people with other various functional limitations. And it gives results. But, unfortunately, we do not promote this social business, we do not have a culture of promoting this social business. Today’s model, when an enterprise founded by a public organization is considered such a business, is no longer relevant. No businessman creates a public organization first, and then an enterprise. People begin to work, develop, stand on their feet and begin to understand that they are ready to invest a share of sociality in something socially useful.
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