Ablebook has developed a partnership with the Mall of Cyprus and the Mall of Engomi

The Ablebook app is pleased to announce its new collaboration with the Mall of Cyprus and the Mall of Engomi, incorporating their spaces into its platform. This partnership aims to facilitate access and provide information for people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

Ablebook is an innovative app available on Android and iOS devices that aims to improve accessibility and support for people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups by offering information and services that make their daily lives easier.

The Mall of Cyprus and the Mall of Engomi offer a range of accessible facilities, such as designated parking spaces near entrances, ramps, accessible restrooms, and comfortable spaces for wheelchairs. Through this collaboration, Ablebook app users visiting these shopping centers can get information about accessible facilities and request assistance, if needed, from the shopping center’s staff. This ensures that all visitors can enjoy their shopping experience and moments without barriers.

Our collaboration with the Mall of Cyprus and the Mall of Engomi is another step towards a more equitable and open society for all. By offering facilities and services that meet the needs of people with disabilities, these shopping centers positively contribute to social progress and solidarity.

New Partnership Between Ablebook App and McDonald’s Restaurants

We are pleased to announce the collaboration between McDonald’s and the Ablebook app, incorporating their 23 restaurants into its platform. This partnership aims to facilitate access and provide information for people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

Ablebook is an innovative app available on Android and iOS devices that aims to improve accessibility and support people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups by offering information and services that make their daily lives easier.

McDonald’s restaurants offer a range of accessible facilities, such as designated parking spaces near entrances, ramps, accessible restrooms, and spacious areas for wheelchairs. Through this collaboration, Ablebook app users who visit McDonald’s restaurants can get information about accessible locations and request assistance if needed from the relevant staff. This ensures that all customers can enjoy their meals and moments without obstacles.

Our collaboration with McDonald’s restaurants is another step towards a more equal and open society for everyone. By providing facilities and services that meet the needs of people with disabilities, McDonald’s positively contributes to social progress and solidarity.

The foodhaus store chain is now on the Ablebook app

Ablebook is launching a new collaboration with the foodhaus store chain. This collaboration contributes to providing all relevant information and services concerning the accessibility of individuals with disabilities and vulnerable groups.

Foodhaus stores provide handicapped parking spaces near their entrances, ramps, accessible toilets for individuals with disabilities, and spacious areas for wheelchairs. Through our collaboration, app users visiting foodhaus stores can get information about store accessibility and request assistance if needed by contacting responsible staff at each store. This way, everyone can shop without barriers.

Our collaboration with foodhaus food stores is another step towards a more equitable and open society for all. By offering facilities and services that meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, foodhaus stores contribute positively to social progress and solidarity.

Wheelchair Basketball Game «Sport Unites Us»

The American International School in Cyprus (AISC), in collaboration with the Wheelchair Basketball Committee of the Cyprus Basketball Federation (C.B.F.) and Keravnos, is organizing an event entitled: Wheelchair Basketball Game «Sport Unites Us». The event will take place on Saturday, May 18th, from 14:30 to 17:00 at the Keravnos Strovolou Indoor Stadium “Kostas Papaellinas”. Entry is free.

The event is under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides.

The purpose of the event is to promote wheelchair basketball to the wider public, with the ultimate goal of its development and the financial support of the four associations currently operating in Cyprus.

The title “Sport Unites Us” signifies that sports have the power to unite people regardless of race, nationality, religion, disability, or social status. Through sports, people meet, collaborate, and compete with each other, creating a common ground through a shared experience. Sporting activities can build bridges between different communities and promote social cohesion and understanding.

AISC is an English-speaking private school in Nicosia. It offers American and international university preparatory education, including the option of the International Baccalaureate program for the final two years of secondary education. The school is part of Esol Education.

The mission of the school is to develop lifelong learners, equip them to achieve academic excellence, nurture their personal well-being, and cultivate responsible global citizens who positively impact the world. Education at AISC aims for the holistic development of the child, fostering values, leadership, academic excellence, and independence. Students regularly participate in social initiatives at both local and international levels, which provide character-building life experiences. It is rich in diverse learning experiences and opportunities for personal achievements.

AISC expresses deep gratitude to the sponsors and supporters of the event. Their support and sponsorship are the cornerstone of the event’s success, reinforcing its mission and goals.

Promoting Accessibility: The Collaboration Between Ablebook and Buyway365 for Cashback Service through AbleCard

We are pleased to announce a significant collaboration we have developed with Buyway365 and introduce a new service that will be available to you, our customers, in our Ablebook app.

The partnership between Ablebook and Buyway365 concerns the Cashback service through the AbleCard platform. Specifically, Ablebook provides a service within the Ablebook app called AbleCard. AbleCard is a membership card exclusively for people with disabilities (PWDs), where businesses featured in the application offer additional privileges to these individuals. Buyway365 is a cashback app, an innovative platform where members benefit from discounts in the form of cashback to the credit/debit card they used for their purchases from participating businesses.

Thus, the cashback service provided by Buyway365 will be integrated with the AbleCard service from Ablebook, with a significant difference. Users with disabilities (PWDs) of the Ablebook application will enroll in the AbleCard service from Buyway365. User information will be verified to confirm that they are indeed PWDs, and they will have immediate access to the above service. The difference is that PWD users of the above service will receive additional discounts (a higher percentage) from businesses participating in the AbleCard program of Buyway365 compared to what is provided in the Buyway365 application.

Activation Steps for AbleCard:

Step 1: Download the Ablebook application.

Step 2: Register for AbleCard and upload your European Disability Card or Blue Badge Parking Card for eligibility verification.

Step 3: After receiving a confirmation email as an approved member of AbleCard, download the BuyWay365 application.

Step 4: Use the special promo code: ABLE – Activate your card and get additional cashback.

The purpose of creating this feature is to improve accessibility and the well-being of people with disabilities (PWDs) in Cyprus. The collaboration between Ablebook and Buyway365 in the Cashback service through the AbleCard platform aims to offer additional privileges and discounts to PWD users of the Ablebook app. The result is the promotion of accessibility, the facilitation of the daily lives of PWDs, and the enhancement of their social inclusion.

“The Architecture of Disability: A Discussion with Architect David Gissen”

Reimagining a city from the perspective of disability is much more than creating ramps on sidewalks,” says architect David Gissen. As an architect with years of disability experience, he speaks about the need to reconsider the values that shape our cities and to broaden our view beyond the concept of accessibility to include notions related to the intersections of disability critique in architecture with environmentalism and postcolonial perspectives on the city.
 


Interview with Bella Okuya

Translation: Editorial team of pass-world.gr


David Gissen is a Professor of Architecture and Urban History at the Parsons School of Design at The New School. His new book, “The Architecture of Disability: Buildings, Cities, and Landscapes Beyond Accessibility,” presents a new way of thinking about the history of architecture and architectural theory, placing disability at the center and changing the way we see the everyday built environment.

David Gissen


Q: Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this book

A: I’ve spent my entire career in the world of architecture as a person with a disability. I am a survivor of pediatric bone cancer, underwent treatment here in New York in the 1980s. I am also an amputee.

I went to undergraduate architecture school as a person with a disability, partially using a wheelchair and crutches at the time. I went to college, did a Ph.D., was a curator, a professional, a practicing architect, and then returned to school to become an academic.

As someone with a long career in the world of architecture, I believe that ideas about debility, disability, and physical weakness are much more complex than simply making buildings more accessible.

The way we think about architectural history, architectural ideas about nature and the environment, the way architects create and design through architectural form, and the way cities urbanize and construct buildings are all intertwined with ideas about ability, debility, and disability.

I wanted to develop what I would call a disability architecture theory rather than just focusing on making architecture more practical for people with disabilities.
 

The genre of writing known as architectural theory interprets architectural history, the aesthetics of construction, and concepts about nature and the environment. My goal was to provide a critique from the perspective of disability on all these issues, especially on the way I learned, was encouraged to practice, and was encouraged to teach these ideas. Writing this book allowed me to express thoughts I had long held in one volume.

Q: Could you speak more about a key concept in the book, the “urbanization of impairment,” and how it relates to this theory?

A: Typically, contemporary critiques of cities for disability focus on ensuring greater access for people with disabilities to movement within urban spaces, such as sidewalks, roads, and public spaces. All of these, of course, are extremely important.
 

However, in my chapter “The Urbanization of Impairment,” I question whether the critique from the perspective of disability in the contemporary city should simply target access to the city as it is, or if it should reconsider some of the values embedded in urban spaces.

Jon Tyson/Unsplash


For example, many cities like New York and London manage water based on the European perception of hydrological management. The recent torrential rains in New York highlighted the limitations of our Western model of paved roads with curbs. There are various environmental critiques of roads and sidewalks that support alternative approaches to urban wastewater management.

There is an opportunity for people with disabilities to form alliances with environmentalists and postcolonial urban theorists who are redefining the streets. Reimagining traffic in urban spaces will likely reduce barriers experienced by people with disabilities and introduce a more nuanced approach to how cities are envisioned.
 

Disability activism often overlooks how navigating the city is governed by predetermined ideas about property rights and trespassing laws.

For example, when I walk along Long Street in New York – which is 950 feet long – and encounter a passage between two apartment buildings or buildings that would make my journey more accessible, I often see signs that say “no trespassing,” which hinder my ability to pass through.

This forces me to take a longer route around the block. It’s a simple example, but it underscores that while many disabled writers focus on sidewalks that determine our movement within cities – which is certainly true to some extent – it is primarily property rights, easements, and trespass laws that dictate urban navigation and determine the placement of sidewalks.
 

The critique of the city from the perspective of disability that I am writing about extends beyond the physical infrastructure and delves into the values ​​that are rooted in urban space. It questions ideas about property, urban mobility, hydrology, and environmentalism.
 

From my perspective, this entails the potential for an extensive political dialogue that transcends the scope of accessibility.

Josh Appel/Unsplash


Q: After reading your ideas about the “natural” – or what we consider “natural” – I saw my environment in a different way. What does it mean when you say that “nature is produced”?

A: I began my architectural career with a strong interest in architectural environmentalism, also known as the green movement in architecture, environmental movement in architecture, or sustainable architecture.

Over time, I became increasingly disillusioned with this movement. About two decades later, I realized that my disillusionment was connected to what I would describe as a form of “soft eugenics” – or an overemphasis on harnessing capability that I encountered in meetings, where architects proposed changing building materials to “revitalize” people. Some even proposed designing office buildings to enhance the health of workers and reduce sick days, ensuring the return on investment through the use of healthier materials.
 

I was troubled by the evaluation of elements of nature solely based on their capabilities, especially the concept of biocapacity. For example, trees were considered “good” because they absorb carbon and release oxygen, and certain species of shellfish were valued for their ability to clean up urban river waters. As someone who often feels incapable, I wondered who advocates for the “weak” aspects of nature.

Then I read “Concrete and Clay” by geographer Matthew Gandy. It focused on how cities produce nature both as a physical entity – such as Central Park, a fully designed landscape – and as an idea, assessing specific aspects of nature according to the demands of an industrial capitalist society.

The book was unlike anything else the environmental movement in architecture was concerned with. I applied to become Gandy’s doctoral student and spent six to seven years collaborating with him.

The architecture of disability reexamines much of this rationale, but from the perspective of a disability critique. I begin the book, Architecture of Disability, with a discussion of the national parks in the United States, particularly Yosemite. National parks like Yosemite are constructed spaces, designed to offer specific aesthetic qualities and experiences to visitors.
 

The earlier inhabitants, the Native Americans – who lived there for thousands of years – inhabited a very different landscape, which would resemble more of an agricultural landscape rather than the idea of wilderness that has been incorporated into it in the last 100 to 150 years.

The last twenty to thirty years have seen significant activism for increasing accessibility in these national parks. One of the questions I raise is whether advocating for increased accessibility in national parks is the right path for disability leadership in the United States.

Why don’t these leaders consider forming alliances with those who are reimagining the history of these spaces, seeking ways to weave together the land, landscapes, and resources with concepts of reconciliation and other forms of politics?
 

[…]


Excerpt from the article published in Public Seminar.

David Gissen is a Professor of Architecture and Urban History at the Parsons School of Design at The New School.

Bella Okuya is a candidate for an MFA in Photography at the Parsons School of Design.

Ablebook Awarded at the 2024 Youth Awards for Social Inclusion

With pride and joy, we announce the awarding of Ablebook at the Youth Awards 2024 of the Cyprus Youth Organization, in the category of “Elimination of Social Discrimination”.

This award recognizes the commitment and dedication of Ablebook to promoting accessibility through technology. Ablebook was designed from the ground up with the goal of making life easier for people with disabilities, by providing a platform that is accessible and user-friendly for everyone.

This distinction is the result of our team’s continuous effort to make society more accessible and inclusive for everyone, regardless of their different needs and abilities.

Ablebook would like to thank the Cyprus Youth Organization for this honor, as well as its users and partners for their support. It is our great pleasure to have been able to share this significant moment with you at the Awards Ceremony held on April 10, 2024, at the Hilton Hotel in Nicosia.

Also, we would like to thank all of our users and partners who have supported and trusted Ablebook. Without you, this achievement would never have been possible.

Katerina Saranti: ‘I say it with pride that I belong to the disability movement

In today’s episode of “When Life Gives You Lemons,” I host champion para-triathlete Katerina Saranti, who was born with a partial development of both tibias, as during embryonic development, her legs developed incompletely from the knees down. From infancy until the age of 18, she underwent dozens of surgical procedures.

Katerina Saranti was born and raised in Rhodes, Greece, and from a young age, she had a passion for sports. In school, a gym teacher advised her to get exempt from Physical Education classes because it would lower her overall grade average. At the age of 17, after a trip to Finland, she realized that she could participate in any sport she wanted, just like everyone else.

 
 
 
 
 

Today, she is studying Medicine and is a champion para-triathlete. She dreams of a world and a Greece with facilities and accessibility for people with disabilities, just like in major European cities.

Katerina Saranti: “Going out on the streets in Greece with a wheelchair is a Golgotha with obstacles.”

How should people refer to her and to other people with disabilities?

“Many people perceive our rights as a luxury; it is the obligation of a state of equality to provide them to us.”

“The linkage of disability benefits with the Minimum Guaranteed Income creates distortions,” says the Commissioner for Administration.

“Public services should reach reasonable solutions and avoid any inconvenience to citizens.”

The linkage of the disability benefit with the minimum guaranteed income creates distortions,” notes Commissioner for Administration Maria Stylianou Lottides in her report, while also emphasizing that public services, particularly those dedicated to serving vulnerable population groups, should, within their discretion, seek reasonable solutions and avoid any inconvenience to citizens.

Specifically, as reported, ‘XX, on July 28, 2022, lodged a complaint against the Social Welfare Benefits Management Service (SWBMS), regarding failure to make a decision on her application for Minimum Guaranteed Income (MGI) – Disability Benefit.

In the findings of the report, it is mentioned that the spouse of the complainant, who is suffering from cancer with a highly burdened health condition, submitted an application for MGI on December 15, 2020. The application was rejected thirteen months later. An objection against the rejection was not examined because it was deemed time-barred.

Meanwhile, an application for MGI was also submitted by the complainant herself, within the framework of which the complainant was referred to the Medical Board for Disability Assessment and was deemed a person with a disability entitled to MGI and disability benefits. However, it appears that the said application was never examined by the SWBMS, nor did the complainant or our Office receive any relevant information.

“And even if it had been examined, it might have been rejected for the same reason as her husband’s application was rejected, namely due to the alienation of immovable property, which was not deemed necessary or essential by the SWBMS.”

However, it is noted in the report that the alienation concerned the terrace of the complainant’s residence, which was transferred to her daughter for the purpose of building her own residence, and not for any other reason or benefit.

It is evident that if the complainant had not proceeded with the said donation to her daughter with the permit for construction, the immovable property she would have possessed would still have been solely her main residence, given that the terrace does not constitute a separate immovable property, and therefore, the complainant would meet the conditions of the legislation regarding the provision of MGI.

“From the above, it primarily emerges that the SWBMS violated its legal obligation to examine the complainant’s application, and moreover, within a reasonable time, which entails a failure to take due legal action, and consequently, a violation of the principle of legality.”

Given, indeed, it should be noted that the complainant is a person with disabilities, the failure to examine and evaluate her application for financial support from the state entails a violation of her right to an adequate standard of living and social protection, as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“I consider it appropriate, at this point, to reiterate my position that linking the payment of disability benefits to the minimum guaranteed income creates distortions, as evidenced in the present case, and often leads to depriving people with disabilities of a basic level of protection that would help them enjoy a comparable standard of living to those without disabilities and protect them from poverty and social exclusion,” stated the Commissioner for Administration in her report.

Accordingly, I expect,” she adds, “that with the legislation currently being prepared by the Ministry of Social Welfare, in consultation with the Cyprus Confederation of Organizations of the Disabled, the creation of a new framework will be ensured to guarantee and protect to the maximum extent the rights of people with disabilities to a sufficient level of life and social protection.

With regard to the fact that the transfer of the complainant’s rooftop to her daughter was deemed by the Ombudsman as an unnecessary/alleged alienation of immovable property and considered as a reason for rejecting her husband’s application, ‘on the one hand, a misguided perception is evident as to what constitutes the alienation of property since the rooftop is not separate from the rest of the property, especially when it is granted as consent for the construction of a residence by the beneficiaries (daughter) of the owner. On the other hand, it constitutes a particularly strict interpretation of the relevant legislation, which violates both the spirit of the Minimum Guaranteed Income Law and the General Law on Social Benefits, aimed at supporting socially vulnerable groups, as well as the principles of good governance, which require administrative bodies to act in accordance with the sense of justice, so that when applying the relevant legislative provisions in each specific case, unfair and unjust solutions are avoided.'”

“I reiterate what was indicated earlier, that if the complainant had not proceeded with the said donation, the immovable property she would possess would still be only her main residence, given that her rooftop does not constitute a separate immovable property, and therefore it would meet the requirements of the legislation regarding the provision of the Minimum Guaranteed Income,” noted Ms. Lottides.

Furthermore,” she adds, “it is a common practice in Cypriot reality for the rooftop of a house to be granted by parents to their children for the construction of a residence, and it is very rare for it to be sold to third parties

“In light of the above, I deem it appropriate to emphasize that public services, especially those tasked with serving the vulnerable groups of the population, should, within the scope of their discretion, seek reasonable solutions and avoid any inconvenience to citizens. They should apply the law on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the real circumstances of each case for the benefit of citizens,” she notes.

In this particular case,” she notes, “the Department failed to meet the above criteria, as it did not take into account the actual facts, namely that the ‘alienation’ of property is not essentially an alienation but a transfer to the couple’s daughter of the ‘terrace’ for the construction of her own residence, acting under a misconception.

The Commissioner recommends that within one month, any misconceptions and injustices regarding the application of the complainant and her spouse for Minimum Guaranteed Income, Disability Allowance, and Care Allowance be reviewed or re-reviewed, taking into account the above findings, with the aim of providing them with the allowances they are entitled to.

She emphasizes that this is a couple where the husband is suffering from cancer with severely compromised health, while the wife has a serious mobility impairment, certified by the Department of Social Inclusion.

“It is therefore evident that they have both increased financial needs and a need for home care services,” it is stated.

Source: Cyprus News Agency (KYPE

Government Willingness to Disconnect Disability Allowances from Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) – A New Policy Requested

There is strong political will to shape special legislation for people with disabilities, aiming to disconnect allowances from the Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI), stated Deputy Minister of Social Welfare Marilena Evangelou during the discussion on the matter in the Parliamentary Labor Committee.

As Mrs. Evangelou mentioned, a first meeting has already taken place with the Cyprus Confederation of Disabled People’s Organizations (CCDPO), and consultations will continue in early March to address overall issues of social inclusion, rehabilitation, participation, as well as social benefits and services. She noted that this would involve modernizing legislation and that she personally considers the disconnecting of benefits for disabled individuals from legislation on GMI as significant.

She further stated that the consultation is alive, substantive, ongoing, and more detailed recommendations from the CCDPO are expected to continue the consultation process.

On behalf of the Labor Committee, AKEL Member of Parliament Andreas Kaukalias stated that by the end of the discussion, the responsibility will lie with the Parliament to move forward.

CCDPO President Christakis Nicolaides mentioned that the issue dates back to 2014 when the previous Government proceeded with the GMI and disabled individuals lost nearly 40% of the support rights they received from the state.

He noted that they often submit detailed proposals on the issue and that the Deputy Minister convinced them of good intentions and effective communication. He expressed the desire for consultation to continue and mentioned that the President of the Republic urged them to submit their proposals within three months. He added that they have submitted a draft of recommendations to the Deputy Minister and a comprehensive memorandum is now being prepared.

He also mentioned that their request is to increase the state budget by €60 million to support people with disabilities. Without legislation, he added, Cyprus will lag behind and be the last country in Europe.

On behalf of the Pancyprian Organization for the Rehabilitation of Disabled People, Stelios Theophilou lamented the fact that the state expects them to bring legislation, while not a single public servant, as he said, has worked on the issue. He also urged MPs to propose laws on the matter.

The Deputy Minister of Social Welfare countered that it would be easier to draft a bill based on economic data; however, as she said, they want to take into account the needs of people with disabilities, hence they are proceeding with consultations with the CCDPO.

Several organizations of disabled people intervened in the Committee, requesting a new policy of allowances based on the relevant United Nations convention and emphasizing that the new legislation should not resemble the GMI. They also noted that current allowances do not ensure their standard of living.

President of the Cyprus Paraplegic Organization, Dimitris Lambriniadis, noted that while waiting for the new legislation, which will take time, some modifications need to be made to the provisions of the GMI to expand some benefits.

The intervention of people with mental illnesses, such as ADHD syndrome, was also significant, emphasizing the need to take invisible mental disabilities seriously, especially at young ages, to address them and avoid higher costs to society later on.

In statements, Committee President Andreas Kaukalias stated that the Deputy Minister’s position regarding strong political will on the part of the Government is recorded as positive; however, as he said, we need to move from theory to practice, and consultations with the disability movement need to proceed so that the bill can be submitted as soon as possible. He also said that the Committee will examine the issue every two months to assess progress.

DYSI MP Fotini Tsiridou said it would be good for the Deputy Ministry to consult with organizations that feel they are not being significantly considered. She also noted that what is offered for each disability should reflect the problem of each individual. She also said that it is important to consider invisible disabilities so that they do not become more serious in the future.

DIKO MP Christos Senekkis expressed shock at the experiential experiences and the greatness of the souls of people with disabilities. He added that they believe that consultation is the decisive step towards securing their rights to a decent living.

EDEK MP Andreas Apostolou said that for the first time, there is such great optimism for a resolution, adding that the Deputy Minister managed to convince them that they mean to conclude, and for this reason, a structured dialogue has begun. He also said that the new legislation should take into account the individual needs of each disabled person. He also said that in the meantime, some distortions need to be corrected, and consultation with other relevant ministries such as education and health is needed on issues of services for people with disabilities.

DIPA MP Marinos Mousiouttas welcomed the Government’s effort and said that some stable schedules should be set and adhered to. He estimated that the issue may have a positive conclusion soon.

ELAM MP Soteris Ioannou expressed hope for a positive conclusion to a longstanding issue. He also said that it does not need to be said by any organization for the relevant UN convention, which is not applied today regarding people with disabilities. He also said that disability scores are a leveling system that does not assess the needs of each disabled person.

Source: KYPE