The Blind Students Institute in Tirana can now benefit from a renovated resource centre which was inaugurated today in the presence of female and male students, cabinet ministers, civil society, media etc.
This intervention features a modern laboratory for Braille books production well equipped with relevant tools to print or emboss the academic literature, the renovation of the book and music audio-recording studio with software accessible for blind students, provision of hardware and software accessible for visually impaired people.
Thanks to this intervention all premises in the facility are made physically accessible as well.
Beneficiaries of this intervention include the 65 students of the Institute, of which 15 girls, 36 other already identified blind males and females not currently studying at the institute. However the entire community of blind people will be able to access braille-printed or audio books.
The Ambassador of Switzerland to Albania Christoph Graf among others highlighted:” The two new laboratories with renovated premises and equipment will enable the visually impaired boys and girls to increase knowledge and skills. A society is as healthy as its more vulnerable parts. When the potential of persons with disabilities is fully exploited, the whole society will benefit in the long run - economically and in terms of social cohesion”.
This intervention aims to support the transformation of the Blind Students Institute from a specialised education institution into a resource centre that will facilitate the inclusive education for blind students.
Brian Williams, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative highlighted:
“The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities promotes the inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream education system. Access 2 quality education is a human right. Removing barriers in learning is key to realizing the full participation of people with disability in society and this is what we are aiming to achieve with this intervention with the kind support of the Swiss Government”.
During the same event, the National Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities 2016-2020 was presented. The Plan, which was approved by Government’s Decree in June 2016, addresses problems faced by women and men, boys and girls suffering from some form of disability and proposes interventions to promote inclusion, prevent discrimination and eliminate barriers in accessing services and rights.
The Strategy is developed in cooperation with line ministries, civil society organizations addressing issues related to persons with disabilities, people with disabilities themselves and representatives of international development agencies operating in Albania.
The Action Plan outlines a number of interventions in the areas of Physical accessibility and access to information for people with disabilities, employment and vocational education, social and health care. The Action Plan also addresses issues related to participation in political and public life of women and men with disabilities.
Funding for the implementation of the interventions outlined in the Plan, is allocated in the state budget. The Plan also identifies other funding sources in cases when the state budget cannot support the full implementation of the identified interventions.
This intervention aims to support the transformation of the Blind Students Institute from a specialised education institution into a resource centre that will facilitate the inclusive education for blind children.
The intervention in the Blind Students Institute and the development of the National Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities 2016-2020 are supported by the UNDP in the framework of the United Nations Support to Social Inclusion in Albania Program, funded by the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency and implemented by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth in partnership with UNDP and other UN Agencies in Albania.