Valožyn without barriers: Increasing Local Capacities for Provision of Social and Recreational Services for People with Disabilities
About of project:
Project Period: 01.10.2015 – 31.05.2020
Budget: € 1,111,000; EU contribution – € 999,990 (90%)
Implementing Agency: Valožyn District Executive Committee (leading Project implementation partner), Belarusian Society of the Handicapped (NGO), Country Escape (NGO), Interakcia Local Foundation for Development of International Dialogue and Cooperation
Location: Valožyn and Valožyn District, Minsk Region
Owing to the Project, Valožyn will become a launching platform to barrier-free development of tourism. The first Belarusian tourist center and a hostel for people with disabilities will be built in the city, and a special path will be created in Naliboki Forest (Nalibokskaja pušča).
Goals and Objectives: Based on joint efforts of the District Executive Committee, non-governmental organizations and the tourism sector, facilitate social integration of people with disabilities and make tourist services available for everyone.
A monitoring of public buildings was held in the district with the framework of the project in order to create the Valožyn District Action Plan for Improving the Infrastructure and the Quality of Social/Recreational Services for Persons with Disabilities until the Year 2028.
279 Valožyn District facilities received recommendations on barrier-free environment improvements, and 19 of them has been renovated.
5 agrotourism estates (Koni-Poni, Za Mastočkam Estate, Bee World, Hanka Estate and Naliboki Cornflowers) have become more accessible for persons with special needs. Koni-Poni offers an opportunity to take a ride in a horse-pulled cart that has been specially outfitted for persons with disabilities; everyone interested may take water tours on the first-in-the-country wheelchair-accessible floating platform in Za Mastočkam Estate.
The Bielakorac inclusive 1.3 km eco-trail was opened in the Naliboki Forest. It is accessible for persons using wheelchairs, mothers with children, hearing and visually impaired persons, as well as senior citizens. The eco-trail is equipped with tactile maps and information boards that use Braille script, as well as with accessible gazebos and bio-toilets.
A number of blind-friendly boards with information on available tourist routes have been installed; road signs and arrows to available tourist routes have also been made in Valožyn, Rakaŭ and Ivianiec. More details about the facilities accessibility and possible routes for disabled persons are available at volozhin4all.by website.
Also, the first-in-Belarus tourist centre and a 20-bed hostel was opened in Valožyn. A conference hall for holding educational, social and cultural events will be opened here.
All in all, aproximately 6,000 or about 20% of all Valožyn District residents have been involved in the project media space In order to adopt the best European experience in environment accessibility and social integration, 2 study trips to Germany and the Netherlands, a number of seminars and training courses on the development of creative tourist products and services, and on social entrepreneurship, have been organized.
The project was made popular owing to the One Day in Life information campaign on the challenges and achievements of persons with disabilities in Valožyn District, as well as theinclusive summer camp and InFEST festival in the Naliboki Forest (2018).
In the course of the project, 2 brochures were published (in Russian): one is about the Accessible Valožyn tourist route and the project success story, the other is a collection of recommendations for local authorities in Belarus on accessible environment development and adoption of innovative methods of social and recreational services provision based on the experience of Valožyn District.
Points of Contact:
Iryna Ivanova (Interakcia Foundation), Project Manager,
+375 17 334 24 76, +375 25 983 29 59, email@example.com
Anastasia Ryzhankova (Interakcia Foundation), Communications Manager,
+375 29 383 59 83, firstname.lastname@example.org.