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.

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.

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

Episode 4: Michalis Pavlidis Shares His Story of Resilience and Athletic Dedication

In the fourth episode of AbleTalks, we have the pleasure of hosting Michalis Pavlidis, an exceptional athlete and a role model of resilience and determination. Michalis was born in Limassol to refugee parents and had a passion for sports from a young age. He dedicated many years to track and field, specializing in hammer throwing and achieving numerous accolades at national and international levels.

However, an accident at the age of 17 changed Michalis’s life. A car accident forced him to confront a serious traumatic situation, resulting in paralysis. Instead of giving up on his dream, though, Michalis found renewed spirit and dedication in wheelchair basketball.

In this episode, he shares his experience after the accident, the challenges he faced, and the strength he found through sports. He inspires us with his dedication to overcoming obstacles and living a rich and meaningful life despite difficulties.

Don’t miss this exciting discussion with a true protagonist of human resilience and athletic dedication, Michalis Pavlidis, in Episode 4 of AbleTalks. This episode is sponsored by Infocredit Group Ltd.

Improvement of infrastructure for people with disabilities discussed by Vafeadis-Evangelou with KYSOA

In an exchange of views on improving transportation infrastructure and mobility within and outside cities for people with disabilities, Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Alexis Vafeadis, and Deputy Minister of Social Welfare and Social Insurance, Marilena Evangelou, met on Monday with representatives of the Cyprus Confederation of Organizations of the Disabled (KYSOA) at the Ministry of Transport.

Following the meeting, Mr. Vafeadis stated that the problems faced by people with disabilities in their daily travels within cities, towns, and villages, as well as in their mobility both within and outside urban areas, were carefully listened to. “We consider today’s action as significant; it will greatly assist us in improving our infrastructure, both passive (roads and sidewalks) and active (public transportation), so that society becomes more inclusive,” he said.

He indicated that members of KYSOA should be able to actively participate in daily life and contribute as much as they can and worthy to contribute. Therefore, he added, it is an action that has started and will continue, with a two-way exchange of views and information both with KYSOA and the Ministries “so that we can take more and better measures.”

Mr. Vafeadis explained that improvements needed in infrastructure were discussed to facilitate the movement of people with disabilities with greater ease and comfort, citing the improvement of sidewalk usage as an example, noting that there should be no obstacles on sidewalks hindering people with disabilities from moving. He noted that the most important thing is access to the workplace, saying that ways to improve public transportation were also discussed.

When asked if there are timetables for implementing actions, the Minister pointed out that actions have been taken but they need to be faster. “We are here because as a Ministry of Social Welfare, there are issues that need to be addressed in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport and other Ministries,” said the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare. She explained that issues concerning people with disabilities are addressed comprehensively by the Government, and therefore, there is close cooperation to ensure the best practices and actions “and to be as close as possible to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”

Ms. Evangelou noted that there is political will expressed at the highest level, from the President of the Republic, that issues concerning the rights of people with disabilities are a priority, indicating that “we are moving in that direction.” She further stated that cooperation with KYSOA is continuous, uninterrupted, and a dialogue has begun “so that we can modernize, improve, and proceed with new legislation regarding people with disabilities.”

On his part, the President of KYSOA, Christakis Nicolaides, said that the meeting results in a positive atmosphere and opens up prospects for resolving many long-standing distortions in Cyprus. “We believe that people with disabilities should be integrated into society in every way. They should be able to use public transportation smoothly, move on sidewalks, on the streets, enter buildings, and much more, without obstacles. These things certainly need to be implemented as soon as possible in our country,” said Mr. Nicolaides.

He added that “we expect, and it seems that there is understanding from both the Minister and the Deputy Minister for our issues, and we hope they will find their solutions in cooperation with us.” This is the most important, he continued, that any projects carried out should be done in cooperation with KYSOA and the disability movement. “We expect institutional dialogue regarding issues that concern us,” he concluded.

Source: Cyprus

Creates a registry of supporting documents for children with disabilities by the Ministry of Education, preparing differentiated material.

One of the most significant issues in the field of education, characterized as the most difficult and complex, is Special Education, for which the competent Ministry is in the process of implementation, in order to fulfill its promises, following the public announcements of the President of the Republic. The dialogue that took place with the involved stakeholders has provided all the necessary input to the Ministry of Education, which has concluded the changes it promotes and seeks to complete by May, in order to implement them with the new school year.

Last October, the President of the Republic came forward and announced the dialogue between the Ministry of Education and the involved stakeholders in the field of special education, with the aim of transitioning to inclusive education. The fact that this issue is a priority of the Government was also evident from the announcements of Nikos Christodoulides, last Monday, during which he emphasized that “as a result of the structured dialogue underway, the implementation of the reorganized Special Education begins in September 2024, pushing forward the long-term planning for transition to inclusive schooling.”

The Ministry of Education aims to complete all processes before September, and even before the summer, in order to take the long-awaited first step towards the major reform in the field of special education. However, it is emphasized that the dialogue has already been completed, since last December, and the opinions of the involved parties have been submitted to Athena Michailidou.

After studying the positions of all the involved parties, the Ministry of Education proceeded to the next step, which was decoding the issues raised by the stakeholders, in order to finalize the actions to be taken.

Changes in the issue of escorts

The first chapter that the Ministry of Education intends to address and achieve changes before the end of the current school year is the significant issue of escorts. An issue that has become a persistent headache and a hot potato for the Ministry, as it constantly causes problems, despite the intentions for resolution. To this end, in order to find a permanent solution, the Ministry of Education wants to proceed with a timely recording of needs, in order to plan and allocate resources before the start of the school year.

This is the big challenge, as every year the same report is made, yet every year the same problem is observed, and in the end, children stay at home for several weeks because they do not have the necessary support to attend their classes. In this case, the Ministry of Education also seeks the support of parents, in the immediate submission of applications and supporting documents, to take all necessary steps before the start of classes.

With the changes being promoted, the Ministry aims to create a registry, where supporting documents for children applying for an escort will be available, in order to avoid the constant need for submission every time parents apply. This way, the District Committees, responsible for providing escorts to children, will make decisions more quickly.

Differentiated material is coming

The second issue that the Ministry of Education wants to address immediately concerns the provision of differentiated material to children in special education who are in mainstream classes. It’s a request from parents of children with disabilities, for which the Commissioner for the Protection of the Rights of the Child has also made remarks, and despite the guidelines given by the Ministry, there have been cases where they were not followed, resulting in the exclusion of children.

The Ministry of Education has reached an agreement with Greece to evaluate its material, while material from Cyprus is also being developed, so that teachers in primary and secondary education can assist children who need this material. It is clarified that differentiated material also includes special software used by some children, and it has been decided to give special emphasis to modernization.

These two chapters are the short-term goals of the Ministry of Education, which aims to complete the processes by May and immediately after, to open the dialogue on the major issue of amending legislation.


Conference on the Ablebook App: A Collaboration with POAA Limassol

Ablebook, in collaboration with POAA Limassol (Panhellenic Organization for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons), hosted the Ablebook App Conference on February 7, 2024, at the Pefkos City Hotel.

Attendees were briefed on the innovative digital services offered by the Ablebook App to promote accessibility and equal opportunities. We extend our sincere gratitude to the Pefkos City Hotel for their hospitality and support. The presence of the Mayor of Limassol, Mr. Nikos Nicolaides, honored the Ablebook App presentation, recognizing the importance of accessibility in every municipality and stressing the need for local authorities to contribute to this effort.

Ablebook is committed to continuing its work towards promoting accessibility and ensuring equal opportunities for all. The Ablebook App is expected to become an integral part of daily life, allowing people with disabilities and vulnerable groups to actively participate in society.

In anticipation, people with paralysis are waiting for changes in the criteria for hotels regarding accessibility for people with disabilities

The Paraplegics Organization of Cyprus (OPAK) is in a waiting position regarding its request for hotels to comply with criteria that would make them accessible to people with mobility issues. During a meeting held months ago with the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Kostas Koumi, assurances were given that the issue would be resolved.

The gap in accessibility checks for hotels became more apparent during the summer months, where the organization received dozens of complaints from its members. This mainly pertained to the official list that includes hotel units providing services to people with disabilities (PWD). In fact, in many cases, members of the organization who had planned their vacations at hotels chosen from this list ended up spending their days distressed and isolated due to the inadequacy of the facilities.

In this context, the Ministry of Tourism is expected to announce the way it will handle the gaps identified through relevant inspections and to develop a new registry that will cover all accessible hotels, while hotels are expected to comply with the legislation.

As reported to the REPORTER, the president of the Organization, Dimitris Lamprianidis, stated that the Ministry assured them they would soon receive information about the procedures. “It is now a fact and a serious issue that several hotels, without holding special licenses, violate accessibility issues. The legislation regarding hotel accessibility was passed in 1986, while the legislation for buildings was passed in 1999. From 1999 until today, it is inconceivable that there is no registry for which hotels are truly accessible,” he said.

They are requesting more accessible three-star hotels.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lambrianidis mentioned that, in addition to the above, he discussed with the responsible Deputy Minister the prices of accessible hotels. The organization is requesting more accessible three-star hotels that will provide everyone with the opportunity for short vacations. “Most accessible hotels are five stars, and not everyone has the financial means to pay for their stay in such a hotel. There should be the possibility of staying in three-star hotels and offering affordable prices,” he said.

In conclusion, Mr. Lamprianidis noted that all issues related to the accessibility of hotels are very serious. “We expect to have a reliable list of accessible hotels at least before the summer season. It’s something we will push for. All people should have choices and know where we can have safe vacations with our families,” he said.


Ablebook visited Pascal English School to inform students about its work

Andreas Vasileiou CEO of Ablebook visit to Pascal English School in order to inform students about its work and open the dialogue to promote accessibility and equal opportunities in society.

Ablebook Ltd provides the first “Ablebook” online platform in Cyprus, providing information on accessible places and services for people with disabilities and vulnerable groups. The company operates with the aim of promoting accessibility and providing digital services that encourage participation, offering equal opportunities in society for people with disabilities.

During their visit to Pascal English School, Ablebook representatives had the opportunity to communicate directly with students, present their platform and answer questions. The meeting allowed for an open dialogue on the need to promote accessibility and the rights of people with disabilities.

Finally, Ablebook Ltd would like to extend its warmest thanks to the Pascal English School community for their interest and support during their visit.