BKA offer accessible mobility and road safety education for children with disabilities in Minsk

Belarus, Children's Road Safety, Safe and Inclusive Mobility

Last week EASST’s Corrine Vibert visited Belarus to take part in the international Feminominal Forum on women’s leadership and take a closer look at the work of EASST partners, the Belarusian Auto Moto Touring Club (BKA).

The BKA is currently implementing a project, supported by EASST, aimed at creating a joint educational programme on road safety for both disabled and non-disabled children. The programme uses a specially adapted version of the EASST Road Safety Education Pack, which includes illustrations of children with different kinds of disabilities and aims to promote a more inclusive, barrier-free environment for people with disabilities in Belarus.

According to Ministry of Labour and Social Security data, as of January 2018 there were just over half a million people with disabilities in Belarus, over 30,000 being children under 18 years old. A report on disability, mobility and road risk published by the BKA and EASST last year found that for the majority of disabled people in Belarus there are significant barriers to making even to most basic journeys, such as to the shops, to the doctor or to visit friends, due to unsafe roads and inaccessible transport.

In the context of road safety, there are currently no dedicated educational resources for children and young people with disabilities on road safety and there is little road safety education in schools. Children and people with disabilities are inherently more at risk on the road, it is therefore especially important that are aware of road risk and how to use the road safely.

On the 22nd June, Corrine joined the BKA at a meeting with the Belarusian Association of Assistance to Children and Young People with Disabilities (BelAPDIiMI). BelAPDIiMI is a local NGO, which works closely with the BKA on their disability and mobility projects. The meeting took place at a social enterprise established by BelAPDIiMI called Artidea. The enterprise exists to give people with disabilities an opportunity to work and to earn money by nurturing their skills and capabilities.

During the meeting, the adapted Education Pack was presented to BelAPDIiMI staff for their input and feedback. It was agreed that more information on how to access and use public transport safely should be included, as well as a focus on how non-disabled children can offer a helping hand to their peers if needed.

Next week, the BKA will be using the Education Pack to facilitate a pilot road safety training session for both disabled and non-disabled pre-school children in Minsk. The project has two core aims: firstly, to promote a positive attitude towards people with disabilities in Belarus and break down the prevailing stereotype that people with disabilities are helpless. And secondly, to teach children and young people with disabilities how to behave safely on the road and thereby helping them to become more independent.