“Involving people with disabilities into active social life” conference took place in Astana

Astana, June 19, 2014 – USAID’s Empowerment Now! program, in partnership with the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, conducted the “Involving People with Disabilities into Active Social Life” conference in Astana on June 19. The goal of the conference was to raise awareness about the importance of including people with disabilities into social life as active members of the society. The results of the “Empowerment Now!” national public information campaign were also presented at the conference.

Participants included parliamentarians, senior government representatives from the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Education, the private sector, and civil society organizations, including those representing people with disabilities.

Mrs. Michael Klechevsky, Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Kazakhstan, opened the conference with a speech. He paid a special attention to the input of “Empowerment Now!” project to the improving the social and economic conditions of people with disabilities. Civil Society Development Association is implementing the project.

The “Civil Society Development Association” ARGO” was the organizer of the event. According to its Executive Director, Jamila Assanova, the conference was the culmination of the project activity “ARGO” and was a good opportunity to present the results to the wide audience, and to share the results of the national survey on public attitudes towards people with disabilities.

The outcome of the conducted national information campaign was a change in attitudes towards people with disabilities.

During the conference, the participants discussed effective ways to involve people with disabilities into social life of the country, as well as the initiatives of the Republic of Kazakhstan to protect the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities, and the prospects for ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities by the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In the end, the participants received the recommendations, which set out the next steps needed to achieve the perceptions of people with disabilities as equal and active members of the society. After the adoption of the recommendations, the final document of the conference will be sent to the government and parliament for consideration and appropriate action.