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.

Right to work for people with disabilities – A step towards equality

Andreas Vassiliou, CEO of Ablebook, and Andreas Apostolou, Member of the EDEK party, present a significant initiative for improving the working conditions of people with disabilities. Through this proposed initiative, which will be discussed in the House of Representatives, we express our commitment to a society that respects the rights of all citizens, promotes equality, and addresses economic disparities.

According to existing legislation, if a person with disabilities is employed and receives a salary above €512, the difference is deducted from their disability allowance. This measure negatively affects the prospects of professional advancement for people with disabilities, as it hinders them from achieving full autonomy and economic independence. We strongly support the increase of the minimum threshold for the salary of people with disabilities from €512 to €1000, aligning it with the minimum wage of an employed person. This will promote their employment without restrictions and contribute to strengthening the economy with increased contributions to Social Insurance and the General Healthcare System (GeSY). We also propose the separation of the disability allowance from the European Union Support Framework (EESF), thus creating conditions for a fair distribution of resources and enhancing the employment of people with disabilities.

In this context, we invite our colleagues to support this initiative for the promotion of equality and opportunities for all citizens. Our society must be a place that treats all citizens with respect and equality, offering them the opportunity to fully contribute to society. With this initiative, we aim to promote a vibrant society where everyone has the possibility to succeed and pursue their dreams.

Thank you for your support in this critical initiative for the creation of a more equal and just 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.


The fine for illegal parking in spaces for people with disabilities is increasing to €500.

The discussion on the proposed law submitted by the EDEK Member of Parliament Andreas Apostolou begins in the Transportation Committee of the Parliament. The law suggests an increase in fines for those who illegally park in spaces designated for people with disabilities.

Specifically, according to the proposed law, if someone illegally parks in a disabled (accessible) parking space for the first time, the fine increases from €300 to €500. However, in case a person repeats the offense, a fine will not be issued, but the individual will be subject to prosecution under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulations, which stipulate that anyone violating them is guilty of an offense and is subject to imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of €1,708.

In the rationale of the proposed law, Mr. Apostolou states that “the modification is deemed necessary for the strict enforcement of the legal framework, in order to address problems related to the right of unhindered movement of persons with disabilities, which is a fundamental prerequisite for their participation in public life. There is an increase in the phenomenon of vehicle parking in spaces designated for disabled individuals by unauthorized persons.”

Apostolos: We need to also consider the issue of inspections by the police.

Andreas Apostolou stated: “I consider the current framework regarding checks and complaints about these violations to be inadequate. Organizations for people with disabilities, who have been invited to and will participate in today’s session, agree with me. The phenomenon of individuals illegally parking in these spaces is unfortunately observed very often, even in vital services such as hospitals. It is unacceptable for people with disabilities or parents with disabled children not to find parking spaces because of some irresponsible individuals who do not have the right to park.”

“We must note, however, that besides increasing fines, we also need to consider the checks conducted by the police. It seems that the checks are inadequate. We will try in Parliament to do what we can, to change the framework for penalties. At the same time, other measures need to be examined and implemented so that checks are increased and become more effective. That’s why we invited the police to participate in the discussion for a broader conversation. I contacted the Minister of Transportation, who supports the proposal I submitted. I believe there will be a good discussion to examine what we can do about this serious issue.”

The President of the Organization of Paraplegics in Cyprus, Dimitris Lambrianidis, stated regarding the issue: “The proposed law is in the right direction. However, as an organization, we consider it necessary to increase supervision by both the police and traffic wardens because the main problem is inadequate monitoring. People feel that they will not be punished, so they easily park illegally in disabled parking spaces.”


Ablebook was awarded the Innovation Award in the “Social Innovation” category by the Employers and Industrialists Organization (OEB).

In the context of this year’s Innovation Awards of the Employers and Industrialists Organization (OEB), held at the Strovolos Municipal Theater in Nicosia, Ablebook won the award in the “Social Innovation” category for its outstanding contribution to the field of social contribution.

The event was held under the auspices of the President of the Republic, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, and highlighted and awarded the most innovative businesses in Cyprus for the year 2023 in four categories: Manufacturing Sector, Primary Sector, Service Sector, and Social Innovation.

Ablebook was recognized as the top performer in the Social Innovation category, responding to the social need for creating an innovative application focused on the accessibility of people with disabilities. It provides the necessary information, enabling them to overcome obstacles in their daily lives. This award represents the culmination of the hard work carried out by the Ablebook team and its partners with a vision for an inclusive society.

During the award ceremony, the founders of Ablebook stated the following:

Symeon Stylianou – CBO: “In an era where our society faces continuous challenges, we created an effective tool to facilitate the lives of people with disabilities, giving them the means for optimal organization of their daily lives. With Ablebook, our long-term goal is the real integration of people with disabilities into society and its urban environment. This award reflects our commitment to evolve this tool and serves as motivation to continue our work.”

Andreas Vasileiou – CEO: “I would like to express our sincere thanks to the Employers and Industrialists Organization (OEB) and the President of the Republic for the honor of receiving the Social Innovation Award, as well as to all those who supported us in this journey called Ablebook. I promise you that we still have a long way to go. Special thanks to our families and all our collaborators. We dedicate this award to all individuals with disabilities, closing with the phrase ‘Disability does not make you less human but stronger in life.'”

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.

Event for Accessible Tourism in Cyprus

Ablebook announces the organization of an important conference on the accessibility of PWDs (Persons with Disabilities) in tourism services, especially in the hotel units of Cyprus. The conference will take place on October 25, 2023, at the Radisson Blu Larnaka, with a rich program that will present practical solutions, products and mechanisms aimed at improving the accessibility of hotel services for the disabled. You are also under the auspices of PASYXE.

The aim of this conference is to promote tourism for People with Disabilities and to improve accessibility in general in the field of tourism and culture. Cyprus already offers significant advantages, such as short distances, good climate and safe beaches, making this country ideal for such initiatives.

In the framework of this conference, will be presented:

  1. Ablebook App Special Partnerships and Benefits: Introducing the Ablebook app and the products it offers to improve accessibility.
  2. Challenges of the Hotel Sector and Needs of the Disabled: Analysis of the challenges facing the hotel sector in terms of accessibility and the needs of the disabled.
  3. New Trends in Products for the Disabled in the Sanitary Ware Sector: Presentation of specialized equipment for people with disabilities in the sanitary ware sector by Mr. Marco Ragno Export Manager of Ponte Gulio, exclusive agent Studio Bagno.
  4. Experiential Experiences: Presentation of experiential experience as a disabled tourist by Rafaela Miltiadou, Marketing Manager of Altamira Real Estate.

Ablebook Ltd is one of the innovative companies in Cyprus active in the field of accessibility and social awareness. Through the Ablebook app, it aims to improve the quality of life of People with Disabilities and other vulnerable groups, enabling them to fully participate in society and access social goods.

If you are interested in participating in the event, please fill out the registration form below at Microsoft Forms.

We invite you to participate in our day and contribute to the promotion of accessibility and integration of the disabled in the tourism sector in Cyprus. Together we can create a more open and friendly society for everyone.

We would like to thank our sponsors for their support to make this event happen, our Major sponsor doValue Cyprus, the Radisson Blu Hotel where the event will take place, and the sponsors Polyclinic Health, Choose Your Cyprus and Bautech Systems.

Denmark apologizes for the mistreatment that individuals with disabilities have suffered in the past

The Danish government officially apologized today to individuals who were victims of abuse in public institutions in the past, whether they were admitted because they had disabilities or because they had behavioral problems.

“The state (…) had a duty to oversee, and it did not adequately perform its job,” said Minister of Social Affairs Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil in front of approximately 50 survivors who are still alive and went to Horsens, Western Denmark, for this event. “On behalf of the state, on behalf of the Danish government, I apologize,” the minister added.

Between 1933 and 1980, approximately 15,000 children and adults with visual or hearing impairments, epilepsy, speech problems, physical or intellectual disabilities were placed in these special institutions for varying lengths of time. During that time, the authorities’ concern was not to protect the rights of the patients, but primarily to protect society from them, explained expert researchers.

From 1929 until 1967, sterilization of patients with psychiatric problems was imposed by law, and until 1989, they had to obtain special permission to marry.

In 2020, the previous government initiated an investigation into the fate of these people who were admitted to institutions. Serious omissions and mistreatment of patients were thus revealed, including forced sterilizations, violence, sexual abuse, as well as deficiencies in medical care.

“What happened to you is far from what we want for Denmark. We will never forget what happened to you. What happened to you will never happen again,” assured the minister.

Source: Reporter