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The legal, financial and administrative basis of the system of support for disabled persons

Georgia is currently undergoing systemic and political changes. Reforms have been launched in such areas as social policy, where particular attention is being focused on groups at risk of exclusion. One of the most marginalised social groups in Georgia are people with disabilities. Factors contributing to this marginalisation include negative stereotypes, environmental barriers, the difficult financial situation as well as inadequate legislation and inadequate mechanisms for implementing the legislation that does exist. Polish-Georgian cooperation aims to change this situation.

The legal, financial and administrative basis of the system of support for disabled persons

In 2014, the third edition of The legal, financial and administrative basis of the system of support for persons with disabilities project was carried out. From 2012, in response to the needs of the Georgian side, actions had been carried out by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in cooperation with Georgia’s Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs.

The overall project objective was to improve the situation of people with disabilities in Georgia. The immediate objectives consisted of sharing knowledge, best practices, and legislative solutions with Georgian central and local government officials and NGOs in the following areas:

  • public awareness of matters related to disability;
  • removal of architectural barriers;
  • accessibility and universal design;
  • therapy methods for children and adults with different types of disabilities;
  • support systems for children and adults with autism.

Furthermore, cooperation was developed among entities working with people with disabilities in Georgia, and bilateral cooperation was initiated between Georgian and Polish organisations. The project was primarily addressed to the central government administration and secondarily to local governments and NGOs.

The project was implemented in Poland and in Georgia. During training visits, delegates met with local government representatives in Lublin, Slupca, Lukow, Ozarow Mazowiecki, Kakheti and Telavi.

The legal, financial and administrative basis of the system of support for disabled persons

The staff of Georgia’s Central Offices learned about regulations to adapt spaces for people with disabilities. This knowledge was then applied in new legislation that entered into force in Georgia on 1 January 2015.

Officials also became acquainted with a number of legal issues concerning adjustment of national legislation to the requirements of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Office of the Ombudsman in Georgia will independently monitor implementation of the Convention’s provisions.

Participants became familiar with best practices in occupational and social rehabilitation. For the first time, actions serving labour and employment were incorporated into the Georgian Government Action Plan for 2014-2016 on Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. For this purpose, funds in the amount of GEL 3,105,000 were set aside. The largest portion was allocated for support of employment in state-owned institutions, the private sector and seasonal jobs. Moreover, NGOs were provided with support for actions benefitting occupational rehabilitation. Government spending was also increased for social services for people with disabilities. Information on foster care was provided, with plans for actions to introduce support for foster families, to help foster care wards become independent and to support vulnerable biological families. These actions are to be taken as part of the cooperation between the central government administration and Polish and Georgian NGOs.

Specialists in the local government of Kakheti gained knowledge and became acquainted with best practices. There are plans for cooperation with the Western Warsaw Powiat.

Members of the Georgian NGOs Anika, Hand in hand, Taobata Kera and the Association of Helping Children with Hearing and Speaking Disorders became acquainted with support for people with disabilities at the central and local level in Lublin, Slupca and Lukow. The first talks were held. There are now plans for bilateral cooperation between Polish and Georgian organisations.