They kicked out a child with a disability from the beach

The expulsion of a 13-year-old person with a disability from Agia Triada beach in Paralimni is being reported by their parents.

According to a complaint they sent to Commissioners and relevant authorities, which is also held by “F,” a few days ago, they visited the beach, and there, for an insignificant and unreasonable reason as they describe it, the person responsible for their sunbeds and umbrellas verbally and physically attacked them, threatened them, and forced them to leave.

“We are a family of five, and our eldest son, aged 13, has disabilities. On 23/08/23, we visited Agia Triada beach around 12:00, which was crowded. There was only one available beach chair for disabled individuals, which we moved slightly to the left to be able to get our 13-year-old into the water. While the father was swimming with his three children, he noticed that there was a disturbance on the shore.”

The municipal official shouted, stating that the sunbeds could not be moved. Ignoring the explanations from the mother, he demanded that they move their belongings since they couldn’t use the sunbed anymore. He grabbed the sunbed and hit it on the ground.

The father, thinking it was a misunderstanding, tried to talk to the municipal worker, who continued to shout. ‘I presented the reasons why we needed the sunbed, but he remained stubborn and kept diverting. Due to his behavior and considering my family, I decided to leave. This man started to follow me. He yelled and continuously threatened that he would hit me if I dared to touch any sunbed. When I approached my family, he grabbed my left arm and attempted to push me twice. I pushed my hand away, stating that he had no right to touch me. He replied that he didn’t care if he lost his job or faced consequences because he would hit me.’

The other two children, aged 11 and 5, began to cry and asked to leave. The family called the police, who arrived at the scene and took statements.

On the other hand, the Mayor of Paralimni, Theodoros Pyrillis, informed ‘F’ that he would personally investigate the complaint. If any wrongdoing has occurred, he stated that the appropriate measures would be taken.”

Source: Φilenews

Accessible Tourism by Ablebook

On October 25, 2023, the event organized by Ablebook took place at Radisson Blu Larnaka, highlighting the importance of Accessible Tourism in Cyprus and especially the necessity of accessibility for the disabled in the hotel units of Cyprus.

Important topics were presented during the conference, including: Analysis of the challenges facing the hotel sector in terms of accessibility and needs of PWDs and “How Ablebook app contributes to PWD Tourism” by Ablebook CBO Symeon Stylianou.

Presentation of specialized equipment by Mr. Marco Ragno, Export Manager of Ponte Giulio. Presentation of practical experience as a tourist with a disability by Rafaela Miltiadou, Marketing Manager of Altamira Real Estate. The CEO and founder of Ablebook, Andreas Vassiliou, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mr. Kostas Koumis, the Mayor of Larnaca, Mr. Andreas Vyras, and the President of PASYXE Larnaca, Mr. Marios Polyviou, delivered greetings at the conference.

The event would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors, including major sponsor doValue Cyprus, Radisson Blu Hotel, as well as sponsors Ygia Polyclinic Private Hospital, Chooseyourcyprus, BauTech Systems, as well as Reisswolf supporters, Harris Kyriakides Law Firm and Shikkis Bros Ltd.

Unbelievable:”This is Marios” – Alone student with cerebral palsy due to lack of funding – Cry for help

Marios, a high school student who suffers, among other things, from spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, is fighting alongside his family for a better quality of education, as three weeks after the start of the school year, the Ministry of Education has not secured a school escort due to a lack of funding.

Source: To Thema Online

Ablebook collaborates with Metropolis Mall for More Accessibility and Inclusion

Ablebook is an application that provides information and services related to the accessibility of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in urban centers and villages across Cyprus. Through the application, users can find information about accessible locations, view photos of these places, communicate with businesses, and report issues they encounter in a particular location. Additionally, the application includes information about public parking spaces for PWDs throughout Cyprus.

Ablebook is an application that provides information and services related to the accessibility of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in urban centers and villages across Cyprus. Through the application, users can find information about accessible locations, view photos of these places, communicate with businesses, and report issues they encounter in a particular location. Additionally, the application includes information about public parking spaces for PWDs throughout Cyprus.

The first feature of Ablebook is an interactive map that allows users to select their desired destination, showing them the most accessible route. They can also view available accessibility facilities at each location through photos and directly communicate with businesses in case of need.

The second feature, known as Ablecard, is a membership card exclusively for people with disabilities. Through this card, users can enjoy additional privileges at businesses collaborating with Ablebook, such as discounts and special offers.

The third feature of the application, the Kids section, provides information about accessible spaces where children with disabilities can engage in sports and various activities.

The last available feature is the Ablebook Portal, which allows businesses and municipal authorities to manage their locations within the application and update their content. This ensures that accessibility information is always up-to-date and compliant with standard specifications.

The collaboration between Ablebook and Metropolis Mall is a step towards creating a society of equality and inclusion. With the accessible facilities and services offered, Metropolis Mall sets an example for other businesses to follow, making our community more accessible for everyone.

“They tied a child’s wheelchair with a rope” – Serious allegations before the Parliament

The strong concern and anxiety have been raised regarding what was heard in front of the Parliament, concerning the way and means of transporting children with disabilities. There were reports of a disabled wheelchair being tied with a rope inside a bus that was transporting students to and from school. Furthermore, the absence of clear legislation was presented as the perfect excuse for government services to justify the unjustifiable.

The Human Rights Committee, in response to a letter from Kostas Groutidis in which he explained the ordeal his son went through to attend school trips with his classmates during the previous school year, opened the issue of violations against children with disabilities within school units.

Mr. Groutidis mentioned in his letter that during the first school trip of the previous school year, the children were transported by a bus with only one seat for a wheelchair, but there were two children, resulting in his son being tied incorrectly and, during a sudden stop, falling off the seat. As for the second school trip, Mr. Groutidis did not allow his child to board the bus, as there was no room for two children, ultimately transporting him to the excursion location himself. A location that was not accessible.

The problems with the transportation of children with disabilities have also been highlighted by the President of the Association “Agalia Elpida,” Youla Pitsiali, who stated that this issue should have been discussed for years. She explained that the first violation against these children is the violation of their right to access education since, as she pointed out, these children are subjected to an evaluation by third parties to decide, without the children’s and their families’ input, whether they should be placed in mainstream classes or not. “They prohibit access to the classrooms, and we let it happen because there is no legislation. Then parents are discouraged from sending their children to school because they are told that they will be mocked, that there are no examination essays, and we let them be bullied.”

Mr. Augustinos expressed his dismay at the lack of legislation to address these specific issues and called on the Parliament to take action, emphasizing that it is time for decisions to be made and initiatives to be taken.

On her part, the President of the Association “Agalia Elpida,” Youla Pitsiali, in her statement, mentioned that this issue should have been discussed for years. She explained that the first violation against these children is their exclusion from education since, as she pointed out, these children are subjected to evaluations by third parties to decide, without the children’s and their families’ input, whether they should be placed in mainstream classes or not. “They prohibit access to the classrooms, and we let it happen because there is no legislation. Then parents are discouraged from sending their children to school because they are told that they will be mocked, that there are no examination essays, and we let them be bullied.”

Regarding the issues with buses, Ms. Pitsiali noted that it has been a problem for years, and in 2017, with the initiative of the then-president of the Federation of Parents of Municipal Education, Morfaki Solomonides, a program for accessible buses was implemented because there were no buses to meet the needs, and parents had to pay. As she pointed out, the company that won the bid stated that it was at the disposal of the schools to provide buses for children with disabilities for two years, during which the pilot program was implemented, and there were no major problems and significant benefits were realized. “All students were transported together in large buses. We don’t want the children to be transported in small buses but in large ones. The program was stopped, and it didn’t proceed. The Ministry of Education should tell us why it was stopped. For five years now, we have been saying that there should be legislation for inclusive education.”

Taking the floor, the President of the Cyprus Confederation of Organizations of the Disabled (CCOD), Christakis Nicolaides, noted that they have submitted a memorandum regarding the inequalities faced by children with disabilities in all areas. He emphasized that there are laws and regulations for mass transportation, both public and private, that must be accessible. “The specifications exist, and there are EU specifications. Refusing to accept that there is a problem and that there are ways to solve it will not help. From July until now, we have had 70 complaints. There was a case where a child was not granted a ramp to enter his home, and the Court ruled in favor of the child. There are complaints about the transportation of children; in Paphos, they left children with autism at school and did not take them on the excursion.”

The Response of the Ministry of Transportation

In response to what Mr. Groutidis reported, Mr. Andreas Nikiforou, the Head of the Directorate of Public Passenger Transport and Senior Officer of Public Transport at the Ministry of Transportation, emphasized that it was the first time he had heard about what Mr. Groutidis mentioned. He clarified that this was a school trip and not public transportation. He stated, “We are talking about a private company that has a contract with the school and the principal. Understanding that the vehicle was legal, it had passed the MOT (Motor Vehicle Inspection). The vehicle was suitable, but it did not have an extra seat for the second wheelchair.”

Mr. Nikiforou pointed out that during the contract negotiation, the school’s management should have requested a vehicle with a second seat or asked for a second vehicle. He also emphasized that it was the responsibility of the school’s management to document the needs. He further mentioned a meeting that took place at the Ministry of Transportation the previous week, during which it was decided to create a list of essential safety documents that companies must have for buses.

Statements from Educators and Parents

Taking the floor, Mr. Dimitris Taliadoros, the President of OELMEK (Secondary Education Teachers’ Federation), highlighted that requests for transportation services are made by the school’s management at the beginning of the school year, taking into account the needs of each unit. He noted that there are special buses for excursions. Regarding the responsibility of school administrations, Mr. Taliadoros pointed out that they do not have the specifications for vehicles; only the companies do, and they provide quotations.

“In the past, the police used to conduct inspections, but now the responsibility lies with the schools. What do the schools check? Whether the vehicles have permits, have passed inspections, and are safe.”

On her part, Ms. Myria Vasileiou, the President of POED (Pan-Cyprian Parents’ Association), suggested that at the beginning of the school year, contacts are made with bus companies to find the best solution and that the company is informed if there are children with disabilities. Regarding specifications and criteria, her response was emphatic.

“Our diplomas say ‘teacher,’ not ‘engineer’ or ‘police officer.’ It is not our responsibility to inspect vehicles; we do not have the knowledge.”

In his statement, Mr. Loizos Konstantinou, the President of the Federation of Parents of Secondary Education, noted that their position is firm. “The right to education is equal for all children, and the state should provide it.”

Regarding buses, Mr. Konstantinou emphasized the need to create a registry for school buses to ensure order. He also stressed the importance of creating the list immediately, so schools know what to request from the companies.

Source: Reporter

USA: Quadriplegic regains movement in hands thanks to Artificial Intelligence

A quadriplegic in the USA managed to regain some of the movements and sensations in his upper limbs through a new restoration method based on artificial intelligence.

Keith Thomas, who was confined to a wheelchair after an accident, has regained sensation and movement in his hand and arm after several years, thanks to Artificial Intelligence.

The man had broken his neck in an accident in the pool three years ago, which left him paralyzed from the neck down.

The surgery lasted for 15 hours and took place last March. Doctors implanted five microchips in his brain, and with the assistance of artificial intelligence, his brain successfully connected to his spinal cord and the rest of his body.

This unprecedented surgical intervention required Thomas to be awake for a part of the procedure, allowing him to regain the sensation in his thumb and index finger.

The success of the surgery has made him a true pioneer in paralysis treatment. His ability to move has significantly improved, offering hope for a better future to his loved ones. Moreover, this achievement holds promises for an estimated 100 million people worldwide who suffer from paralysis.

The team at Northwell Health, led by Chad Bouton from the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine, played a crucial role in Thomas’s recovery. Their work has paved the way for possibilities and further prospects in the field of paralysis treatment.


The deal is sealed: From September, the ‘Health’ Polyclinic joins the GHS.

Starting from September, the ‘Ygeia’ Polyclinic will join the GHS (General Health System) – How private Diagnostic and Therapeutic Centers (DTCs) will assist in the decongestion of public hospitals – Andreas Papakonstantinou elaborates on the plan being initiated by the GHS in the Off The Record Podcast.

The agreement for the integration of the ‘Ygeia’ Polyclinic into the GHS (General Health System) has been definitively sealed, and starting from September, beneficiaries of the System will have access to inpatient health care services and the First Aid Department of the private hospital.

Specifically, Andreas Papakonstantinou, the Director of the Health Insurance Organization (HIO), revealed in the Off The Record Podcast by Cyprus Times that HIO has reached an agreement with the ‘Ygeia’ Polyclinic. He also clarified that the signatures have not yet been formalized, but this is now a procedural matter.

Furthermore, he explained that based on the planning, the private hospital will commence providing its services from September 1st, or if there’s any delay, it will occur 15 days later, in mid-September.

Mr. Papakonstantinou also indicated that the First Aid Department of the ‘Ygeia’ Polyclinic will also be integrated into the GHS.

How Private TAEK (Emergency Admission Units) Will Help in Decongesting Public Hospitals

Moving forward, Mr. Papakonstantinou discussed the plan initiated by HIO to decongest the TAEK units of public hospitals, allowing for emergency cases to also be redirected to private hospitals.

“This is why we proceeded with the integration of ‘Ygeia’,” he explained, further adding that “Mediterranean Hospital is already operating within the GHS and offering First Aid services. We will also include Apollonion Hospital (its TAEK unit will join the System in September), Evangelismos in Paphos, and St. Raphael in Larnaca. A mechanism will be established where the patient can choose any TAEK unit.”

He also pointed out that each TAEK unit, due to its specific payment arrangement, will be required to maintain both beds and the medical team necessary to handle these cases. In cases where a TAEK unit cannot attend to a certain incident, it will be accountable to the Organization – as records are kept – and an instruction will be provided to refer the case to specific TAEK units. “There will be these safety networks,” emphasized Mr. Papakonstantinou.”

Source: Cyprus Times

Significant Achievement: They found a way to reprogram the bone marrow cells.

How did mRNA technology contribute to evolution. Which diseases could be addressed using this technique.

Scientists from the USA announced that they have developed a method to directly reprogram bone marrow cells within the body.

If this technique proves equally successful in clinical practice, it could potentially replace hematopoietic stem cell transplants in the future. These are performed on patients with hematological disorders (e.g., leukemia) after undergoing intensive chemotherapy.

Furthermore, it may also lead to the treatment of previously incurable diseases, such as hemoglobinopathies (e.g., sickle cell anemia).

The method is based on the direct delivery of mRNA into a patient’s bone marrow stem cells. This is achieved using a technique similar to the one developed for coronavirus vaccines.

Once the mRNA reaches the target cells, it corrects the genetic mutations responsible for the specific disorder. As a result, the bone marrow of the patient begins to produce healthy cells.

Scientists from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), who developed the method, successfully applied it in experiments on animals and in cellular series in the laboratory.

They corrected a genetic mutation.

The new findings are being published in the scientific journal Science. As explained by the researchers, they tested their technique on the bone marrow of living mice and on hematopoietic stem cells from four patients with sickle cell disease.

In human samples, the method corrected the genetic mutation that causes a portion of the patients’ red blood cells to have a sickle shape. The normal shape of red blood cells is oval.

This discovery suggests that gene editing of bone marrow could be feasible without the usual process used today.

The typical procedure involves finding a compatible donor and obtaining hematopoietic cells from them. These cells are then transplanted into the patient, who must take medication for a significant period to prevent rejection by the body.

Practical Implications

The new findings could potentially revolutionize genetic therapies, stated Dr. Laura Breda, Head Researcher and Associate Professor of Hematology at CHOP.

For instance, they could lead to the treatment of both hematological and non-hematological disorders caused by specific genetic mutations, such as:

  • Hemoglobinopathies (e.g., sickle cell anemia, thalassemia)
  • Inherited anemias or thrombocytopenias
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Various metabolic disorders
  • Muscular dystrophies

All of these conditions could potentially be addressed through a simple intravenous infusion of targeted gene therapies,” she said. However, she was quick to clarify that this won’t happen in the near future. Many more research efforts are needed before the method can be tested in humans, she emphasized.

Source: iatropedia

Strict Recommendations from the Directorate of Administration for Access of People with Disabilities to Clinics and Hospitals

The Ministry of Health should conduct regular and, in every case where a relevant complaint/report is submitted, on-site inspections,” emphasizes the Commissioner.

In recommendations addressed to the Ministry of Health and the EOPYY (National Organization for Healthcare Provision), the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights Protection, Maria Stylianou-Lottides, addressed the accessibility of individuals with disabilities to healthcare services and providers offered through the General Health System (GESY).

Specifically, the Ministry is urged, until the preparation of the relevant Regulations, to prepare, in consultation and collaboration with representative organizations of persons with disabilities, a list of criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications that facilities/infrastructures and equipment of private hospitals should meet, no later than the end of September 2023, and to submit it to the EOPYY.

In an announcement from the Commissioner’s Office, the following points are also mentioned:

Corresponding amendments should be directed within the legal framework that governs other healthcare professional facilities or service providers who are contracted and/or will be contracted with EOPYY, so that their fulfillment of accessibility criteria/requirements and specifications becomes mandatory.

In cases where there is no existing legal framework (e.g. diagnostic centers, rehabilitation centers, palliative care health centers, etc.), the training should be promptly promoted based on the timetables set out in the Ministry’s contracts with private entities to whom it has already assigned the preparation of this legal framework. However, any extension beyond the already specified timetables should not be accepted by the Ministry, if deemed abusive.

It is understood that in every case, until the modification or preparation of the relevant legal framework, the facilities and equipment of healthcare professionals or service providers should meet the criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications that will be included in the aforementioned List to be prepared by the Ministry.”

The Ministry of Health must also proceed promptly and within a predetermined timetable to prepare Regulations where they do not exist, concerning the licensing of healthcare service providers, including private medical practices, so that criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications closely related to obtaining an operating license can be established.

Until the preparation of the legal framework governing the licensing of healthcare service providers, including private medical practices, the facilities/infrastructures and their equipment must meet the criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications that will be included in the above-mentioned List prepared by the Ministry.

To the Health Insurance Organization (EOPYY):

After receiving the aforementioned List from the Ministry of Health, EOPYY should inform all contracted healthcare service providers that within a short period, possibly two to three months, a transitional period of up to twelve (maximum) months will begin, during which they must take the necessary and appropriate actions to ensure that their facilities/infrastructures and equipment meet the criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications included in the Ministry’s List, in order for their contracts to be renewed.

It is understood that the aforementioned transitional period can be extended by up to six months when necessary adjustments with the criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications are already underway or planned. Based on the aforementioned information provided to healthcare service providers:

When entering into new contracts with healthcare service providers, as defined in the General Healthcare System Law, as well as with private or public hospitals, EOPYY should require as a prerequisite that their services are provided in fully accessible facilities for persons with disabilities and that they have the necessary equipment to make the provided services accessible, based on the criteria/requirements and specifications to be determined in the above-mentioned List.”

In the event that the relevant healthcare services are not accessible to persons with disabilities and the provider does not take the necessary actions within a specified deadline as indicated by EOPYY to meet the minimum criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications of the List, EOPYY should not proceed with the formation of a contract.

For existing contracts, EOPYY should timely inform, at least three months before the contract’s expiration (depending on the content and terms of the existing contract), the contracted providers that, for the purpose of contract renewal, they must comply with the criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications to be determined in the above-mentioned List, as a condition/precondition for contract renewal and remaining contracted with EOPYY.

In this direction, a term should be included in all contracts between EOPYY and the providers stating that within the specified period, they must meet the criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications that will be determined in the above-mentioned List. In case of non-compliance, the contract will be terminated and not renewed.

To the Ministry of Health & EOPYY:

The Ministry of Health should conduct regular on-site inspections and audits of the facilities/infrastructures of healthcare service providers, whenever a relevant complaint is submitted, to assess whether they are accessible and meet the minimum criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications of the List.

Furthermore, when it is determined that a facility/infrastructure and its existing equipment are not accessible to persons with disabilities, the Ministry should promptly notify EOPYY, which in turn should inform the provider of the discrimination against individuals with disabilities due to inadequate accessibility to its services. The provider should be urged to make the necessary changes/modifications to ensure accessibility of the provided services.

In the event that a specific provider fails to comply within a specified period with the minimum criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications, EOPYY should suspend and/or terminate the contract for healthcare services.

It is understood that for the implementation of the above, there must be full coordination and communication between the Ministry of Health and EOPYY with the representative organizations of persons with disabilities. This includes defining the necessary and appropriate criteria/requirements and accessibility specifications to be determined and included in the List, as well as determining the process for conducting on-site inspections and audits.

Source: Kathimerini

Mount Everest: Deaf mountaineers conquer the world’s highest peak

Scott Lehmann and Shayna Unger are a deaf couple who run a channel on YouTube. What makes this channel unique is the recording of their experiences of being deaf and climbing the highest peaks of mountains around the world, as reported by CNN.

Their passion for what they do made them the first deaf couple in the world to successfully climb Mount Everest. During their journey, something unexpected happened: they met the second deaf person to reach the summit of this mountain, Hawari Hashim from Malaysia, who achieved this feat on May 18th. Notably, the first person to accomplish this was the Japanese climber Satoshi Tamura in 2016.

ndeed, the three of them achieved this accomplishment a few years after the Nepal Supreme Court lifted the ban on climbing the highest mountain in the Himalayas. This decision led to prideful celebrations among the global Deaf community.

The chronicle of the ban

In 2017, Nepal announced that it would no longer issue climbing permits to individuals with disabilities, including deaf climbers. Some argued that this decision would create more work for the Sherpas, who assist climbers on their ascent.

This ban sparked reactions among all mountaineers with disabilities. Among them was Hari Budha Magar, born in Nepal, who lost both his legs when he stepped on a landmine while serving in Afghanistan. He was one of the pioneers who fought for the lifting of the ban. Eventually, the ban was lifted in 2018.

Magar successfully summited Mount Everest on May 19th, becoming the first double above-the-knee amputee to complete the ascent.

The experience of the couple Scott Lehmann and Shayna Unger

The environmental conditions prevailing on Everest – strong winds, swirling snow, darkness – make communication difficult for anyone, whether they are deaf or not.

The couple uses the Big, a voice-to-text translation app, to facilitate communication with locals, guides, and other climbers. However, the signal at high altitude is very poor. Additionally, typing becomes challenging at 25,000 feet, as the extremely low temperatures require them to remove their gloves to use the touchscreen.

In the end, Unger and Lehmann decided to assume that no technology would work for them on Everest and started learning to communicate as much as possible without it. They collaborated with the Sherpas, agreeing to use certain visual cues and signals to be able to communicate. Ultimately, they were able to communicate without relying on the app.

“There were many different obstacles we had to overcome to reach Everest, so when we reached the summit, we felt like we defied the odds,” says Unger. “We were truly proud of ourselves,” she adds.

It is noted that near the summit, Lehmann’s mask filled with ice, and she started to panic. However, she managed to communicate with the Sherpa who was with them, and he quickly fixed the mask, bringing the group back on track.

Such examples prove that nothing in life is impossible.

Source: News 24/7