In Touch: the research on the state of art concerning working with People with Disabilities has been concluded!

The Consortium of organization involved in the “In Touch” project has finalized the research, to find out about the current landscape concerning work and services directed to people with disabilities (PWDs). The research provides a comprehensive view about the state of art in the countries involved in the project, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Italy, Malta, and Montenegro. 

The key conclusions of the research are the following ones:

· There is an increasing perceived need by the PWDs (people with disabilities) communities to feel more integrated in the decision making processes at local and national level, especially when it’s closely related to the world of disabilities and their rights;

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· Associations and NGOs cover a crucial role in the advocacy for the enforcement of the rights of PWDs and in the creation of an accessible and inclusive social background;

· Despite the efforts of different national and international entities in the pursuit of social integration of PWDs, the local actions, even if virtuous, fail to properly involve some of the stakeholders, especially decision makers;

· Equity of access to the different areas of life (education, employment, social interactions, hobbies…) has greatly improved in the past decade, but is still nowhere close to being properly achieved;

· The resources provided to promote and develop inclusive activities are mostly insufficient, especially in peripheral and rural realities, where access to funding opportunities is more difficult;

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· Educators, from both formal and non formal education, are in need for reliable resources for information and training that can support them in their work with PWDs;

· Approaches and methodologies that stem from the non formal education world (such as multi disciplinary workshops and focus groups) are perceived by participants and professionals as more beneficial to the inclusion of PWDs.

In conclusion, inclusion of PWDs has improved, and notable progress in achieving equity of access across various life domains, including education, employment, social interactions, and hobbies can be recorded, but there is still a long way to go. Associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a pivotal role in advocating for the enforcement of PWDs’ rights and contribute significantly to the establishment of an accessible and inclusive social and cultural framework, while policy makers are difficult to involve and activate. There is moreover a need for additional resources for people involved in working with PWDs.

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