Round table “Transforming society: A community for all” – first day

On the occasion of December 3, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, in coordination with the four EU-supported projects supporting the implementation of reforms for the deinstitutionalization of social services, a Round Table “Transforming Society: A Community for All” was held on the Zoom platform.

At the first session, entitled “Current Situation: Institutional Response” the speakers were: Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Tomica Stojanovski, President of the National Council of Disability Organizations, Jagoda Shahpaska, Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Mila Carovska, Minister for Education and Science, Venko Filipce, Minister of Health, David Gere, Head of the Delegation of the European Union and Rosana Dudziak, UN Resident Representative in Northern Macedonia.

“We were guided by the idea that inclusion does not mean compassion, but unity and alliance, above all fair and dignified treatment in everyday life,” said Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Tomica Stojanovski, President of the National Council of Disability Organizations stressed that Macedonian society still views the prejudices of people with disabilities. “Although there is some progress in reducing the prejudices of people with intellectual disabilities, unfortunately we must point out that there is still a high degree of prejudice in our society. “Continued actions are needed to raise public awareness and inform the public about the rights and needs of people with intellectual disabilities,” said Stojanovski in his address.

“Disability should be approached as a human right, not as a medical diagnosis. The fight against discrimination on all grounds, including discrimination due to disability, continues with the implementation of the Law on Protection and Prevention of Discrimination, “said Jagoda Shahpaska, Minister of Labor and Social Policy.

The second part of the roundtable, entitled “Personal Testimonies: How Deinstitutionalization Changed My Life” was dedicated to social service providers and users.

“The change is wonderful, the feeling is beautiful … calm, serenity. You decide for yourself what you want to eat, what you want to do, who you want to see. Honestly, it cannot be described in one word, but it should be experienced, “said Fanka Dinova, a former user of the Banja Bansko Rehabilitation Institute, who now lives in her own house.

“I worked for 12 years in a special institution, now I work in a small group home in Negotino. The difference is enormous. There are no words to describe it. Now you can see the needs of every child” Rodna Andonova, support living assistant and former caregiver in an institution.