With support from Swiss Government, UN advances social inclusion agenda in Albania

The Blind Students Institute in Tirana can now benefit from a renovated resource center.
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 persons not currently studying at the institute. However the entire community of blind people will be able to access braille-printed or audio books.
Talking about this intervention, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Albania Christoph Graf says:” The two new laboratories with renovated premises and equipment will enable the visually impaired students 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 is helping transform the Blind Students Institute from a specialized education institution into a resource center that will facilitate the inclusive education for blind children. 
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 support of the Swiss Government”.
The School principle highlighted: “This is a long waited opportunity. An inclusive society is one that defends the rights and dignity of every citizen”. Our students today feel empowered”. 
This intervention is one of the components of the programme:”United Nations Support to Social Inclusion in Albania”. The program is assisting the Government to implement the new Strategy for Social Inclusion and Social Protection. It also supports the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The programme has contributed to raising awareness and mobilizing support for people living with disabilities who remain one of the most marginalized groups in Albania.

The programme is funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation and is part of the Government of Albania - UN Programme of Cooperation 2012-2016. It is implemented by UNDP, UNFPA, UNWOMEN, UNICEF, UNODC, UNAIDS, IOM in partnership with Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth and other line ministries.