Each day the handicapped come across a myriad of problems. On the conference held in Novi Sad dealing with the connection between minority media and the handicapped, it was stated that, for the time being, there is still a huge gap between the handicapped and non-handicapped, the problems of the latter are not always recognized, even though some improvements were made in this field in the past couple of years. Marija Vrebalov advisor, who deals with handicap accessibility, after a traffic accident and two clinical deaths, adamantly fights for the right to live complete lives, regardless of the situation in which life has brought us.
What level of attention does society, our environment, presently give to the handicapped, can we talk about improvement?
– I can say that we are a lot more visible, we ourselves deal with solving our problems a lot more too. I think that in this case it’s also applicable that, others will care about you as much as you care about yourself. The problems of the handicapped are everyone’s problems, but of course, this is regarded as a lot more important by those, who at the moment have some problem or obstacle. There are changes. Slowly, as they don’t have an immediate effect on everyday life, as the system has a tendency to work quite slowly, and, as it’s hard to change the point of view of people.
From where should we start, what needs to be fixed as soon as possible?
– I personally think there’s no worst or best situation. It’s very hard for a community or society to develop where there is no strategy, no goal. Institutions mostly send unprofessional and superficial feedback. Such projects are developed which need amendments for day one, which, of course, require more money, and thus makes us even poorer. We spend a lot of time and money on dealing with the same problem. Without order, laws and an organizational structure, we won’t have good results. I think we should work on our attitude as soon as possible, on our method of dealing with things.
Do you find the legal background adequate? The problem is application?
– Laws are more or less good and accurate, they cover almost all segments of life, they guarantee human rights, mention every possible situation in which a person could find himself. We have a right on healthcare, education, information, work , against discrimination, to vote, on an independent life, for goods, roads, safety in traffic, procurements, electronic communication…I would like to stop here. The problem is that, we are the ones who have no respect for ourselves, we break the laws, although they would make our everyday lives easier. Life would be much more convenient.
You went into politics to help the handicapped. What are your experiences? Did you have the opportunity to do something about it?
– Of course I did. My point of view is that the thing I did for others is actually for myself as well. We all are one basically, we won’t achieve anything individually. We need to communicate with each other, share our experiences, support each other and create something together. Politics is important as, through it, we define our society’s progress’ direction, we draft developmental goals, in this way we can keep each other safe.
Which are the problems which arise mostly on accessible communication forms portals?
– Communication is an extremely broad notion. It can be communication between humans, humans and institution, between territorial units, but also, only information. Accessibility is invaluable and is a binding tool between anyone and anything. It is a universal notion, connecting its own differences with each and every point of the human rights criterion. We just need to accept that everyone has the same rights, and life would be much more easier, if these laws would also be available for the public. We would understand each other, no problem would arise from the fact that some of us are men or women, regardless of age, religion, nationality, ethnicity or education.
Moving forward, therefore, would be in everyone’s interest.
– The next theme of EU joining will be human rights. Every man has the same rights, is equal. The successful implementation of such rights is a bit difficult in undeveloped societies, but we have to start from somewhere. An accessible society, environment, education, information, culture, services is the goal. For this, it is needed to accept certain benchmarks, rules, which will make people’s lives better in every aspect. In such a society, there are no special solutions, are no different people. Busses in public transport are not only designed for the disabled, but for the slow moving elderly people, for young mother’s and their baby carriage’s, for citizens with heavy luggage, for the temporarily injured. Accessible web pages, text zooming, no blinking ads on pages, contrast settings, all will find it good and useful. Loud traffic lights, escalators with sound notification, titled TV shows, which should be done by the public TV station for every informative show, also help everyone.
Those who are the fewest, are in the worst position. People know very little about them. However, the listed modifications and modernization would be in everyone’s interest, plus, it would build a sustainable society and would not leave anyone out.