End of the year: a time for analysis and hope

There are just a few days left ‘til the end of 2016 and preparations to celebrate 2017 are in full swing almost everywhere. As it always happens at the end of a year, everyone reviews the almost ended year and makes projects, resolutions and wishes for the upcoming one.

Let’s start with the analysis, obviously considering accessibility and disability culture in general. How was this 2016, under this perspective? A light and dark one, with some lights and still too many shadows. Among the first, for instance, the approval of the so-called “after us” law, even with all its limitations, the increased number (also in Italy) of accessible tourism initiatives and, on mass media, a higher level of attention to web accessibility, commercials, movies and TV series giving back a new perspective on disability, that pays a higher attention to individual dignity than to the disease itself, without forgetting the great success of the Rio Paralympic Games. And, last but not least, allow me a personal note: during this 2016, I, at last, launched this project that, even after just a few months, got me to know organizations, people and projects truly aiming to, if not revolutionize, at least improve disabled people’ lives.

new year

But, as we said earlier, as we approach the end of the year, we cannot pretend not to see so many shadows clouding the sky over people with a disability: work, that, despite laws and incentives, is still a sensitive area; architectonical and cultural barriers that still condition too much the daily life of who deals with a disability, even under a relational perspective.

So, let’s open the “Resolutions and wishes for 2017” chapter: what do I wish, for the new year, for me and for everyone who lives with a motoric, sensory or intellectual disability? Here you have my very own “wishlist”:

  1. More accessible cities and towns paying higher attention to everyone’s needs, not just during “special events”, and not just in Italy or abroad
  2. More qualified job opportunities for disabled people, without bias about their ability, skills and productivity
  3. A more inclusive community towards people with a disability, also under the sentimental and social perspective in general, since also we, disabled people, go out, have fun, fall in love (and not necessarily just “among us”)!

But, to make these wishes come true, acting individually isn’t enough: we’d all have to “act as a system”, work together to demand what we’re entitled to, without be happy with accepting to receive it “”by courtesy”. Since, for sure, it’s important to think about ways to help not self-sufficient disabled people who can’t rely on their family’ support, but it’s as much important to put on expedients and measures to improve autonomy and protect the individual dignity of whoever lives with a disability.

And what are your own wishes, for the new year? Would you like to share them in the comments?

Accessible web: the new EU directive

Nowadays, the Internet has a central role in our lives. Information, shopping, bureaucratic procedures, job, social interactions, movies and TV series, music: there are so many things we use the web for, saving time, money and energy. So, it’s essential to invest seriously in an accessible web.

web accessibile

The right to access the Internet is being included in the Constitution of many countries and, in the last years, Italy started a path towards this directions as well, coming to define the “Declaration of the Rights on the Internet”, a document  where you can read, among other things:

Accessing the Internet is a fundamental right of the person and a condition for his full individual and social development. Each person has equal right to access the Internet in conditions of parity, in technologically appropriate and updated ways, in order to remove each and every economic and social obstacle.

We have presented many initiatives aiming to guarantee an accessible web to all the users. A few days ago, the European Parliament approved, with a landslide majority, the “Directive about the web accessibility”, a law that specifically aims to allow everyone, including elderly and disabled people, to easily access the web, paying particular attention to the public administration websites.

The directive particularly applies to the websites and apps for mobile devices of: public administration offices, courts, police departments, public hospitals, universities and libraries. These institutions will have to give and regularly update a “detailed accessibility declaration” about the compliance of their websites and mobile apps with the directive, including an explanation of any inaccessible content part and detailing the reason why they aren’t accessible too. Moreover, the users must have the opportunity, through a feedback feature, to point out any issue and request for information about the inaccessible content.

This is a needed action, since, today, in the EU live about 80 million of people with a disability or difficult to access the web. The directive will enter into force within 20 days from the approval and the member States will have, since then, 21 months to comply with it. Then, within a year, all the new websites of the public administrations went “live” in the EU must be accessible. The existing websites will have 2 years to comply, while the mobile apps will have 33 months.

Not such a short time, indeed, mostly if we consider how quickly the web evolves. But this directive represents, however, an important step forward towards a web that could be accessible for everyone, thanks to the efforts of the EDF (European Disability Forum).