march-april 2015

Welcome to the EBU Newsletter.

The EBU Newsletter is published every two months in English, French, German and Spanish. It is produced and translated thanks to the financial support of the European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. We hope you enjoy reading it, and we welcome your comments and feedback.

EU update

A car crash waiting to happen?

Have you had a near-miss, or worse, with an electric or so-called “hybrid” (part electric, part internal combustion engine) car? I have! The stealthy vehicle almost got me as I crossed a road! I just did not hear it coming.
The numbers of such cars are growing yearly as drivers switch to potentially greener, quieter means of transport.
EBU and the World Blind Union (WBU) are not against “electric” vehicles at all. They could mean less polluted, “greener” streets.
However, we know from both first-hand experience and recent research that without an adequate warning sound, electric vehicles can be a muted menace for pedestrians and for blind and partially sighted people in particular.

Snapshot

The donation from the EBU fund for developing countries put to good use.

Following the donation of 10,000$ from the European Blind Union fund for developing countries, the CAB (Christian Association of the Blind) in Liberia was able to extend its emergency Ebola Response to blind and partially sighted people at the Ganta School for the Blind. The school is based in the Northern Region of Liberia, close to Guinea. The Provincial District of Ganta is considered one of the epicentres of the Ebola Epidemic where hundreds of Liberians fell prey to the virus.

National news

Austria - Access to museums for blind and visually impaired people through 3D technology – Project AMBAVis

Visually impaired people used to be excluded from a wide range of services offered by traditional museums, including the museums’ role as platform where informal learning takes place.
Therefore, the EU-funded ERASMUS+ project AMBAVis will examine existing innovative technical solutions, in order to allow an understanding of how to improve them and to generate more affordable tactile models for museums in the future.

France - the perception of visual impairment

In France, on 11 February 2015, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our 2005 disability Act. The French Federation of the Blind took part in a demonstration in front of the National Assembly, and carried out a survey on how the French consider visual impairment and the visually impaired people. 1005 people replied, here are the main results.

Portugal - ACAPO contributes to inclusive education in Guinea-Bissau

In March this year, ACAPO - the Portuguese Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted - started a new development cooperation project in Guinea-Bissau, which is conducted in partnership with AGRICE - the Guinean Association for Rehabilitation and Integration of the Blind, the ADVOCARE project.

Sweden - New discrimination legislation and talking newspapers.

As of January 1, 2015 lack of accessibility has
been included as a type of discrimination in the national Discrimination Act.
The new legislation will complement the already existing provisions in the
Planning and Building Act, the Education Act as well as some existing EU
regulations.

Announcements

Another EBU member on facebook!

The Polish Association of the Blind (PZN) has launched their facebook page. It is addressed to all visually impaired Poles living in Europe.

Blind poet is 2015 recipient of the Israel prize for literature

Mr. Erez Bitton (born in
Algeria in 1942) is an Israeli poet of Moroccan descent.  He is the 2015 recipient of the Israel Prize
for Hebrew Literature and Poetry, in addition to other literary awards which he
has received in the past.

Feature

Accessible and usable lifts - Actions taken and required from the EBU and its members to achieve full accessibility of lifts

The installation of lifts is known as one of the main measures to provide access to buildings for everyone irrespective of individual abilities and preferences. It is obvious for most people and therefore broadly accepted that e.g. a minimum door width and enough space inside the lift car are crucial to allow persons in wheelchairs, with walking aids, with children’s pushchairs, carrying heavy loads etc. to enter and autonomously use a lift. However, there is a lack of awareness regarding the importance of the usability of operating controls as well as marking and guidance at lifts in terms of its impact on the usability of the whole lift.
The EBU is currently dealing with this issue in relation to standardisation on the one hand and legislation/implementation on the other.