Photo: Ami Vitale, International Photo Reporter. Photographed in Georgia.
On December 17, Open Society Georgia Foundation released the report on the survey reflecting budget planning and allocation for the needs of persons with disabilities in 5 municipalities of Georgia: Telavi, Gurjaani, Ozurgeti, Khelvachauri, and Batumi.
The document describes the involvement of persons with disabilities and their representatives in the process of drafting local budgets and programs. It contains an assessment of the effectiveness of budget spending and the financed aid, services, and programs for persons with disabilities.
In addition to describing the shortcomings, the document offers recommendations to the state on how to improve budget and program planning and increase the involvement of persons with disabilities in this process.
Despite the limited coverage, the analysis of the five municipalities still provides us with a general picture of the situation in other municipalities of Georgia. One of the main problems identified is the inadequate statistical data about the persons with disabilities and the irregular information on services provided to persons with disabilities. The needs of persons with disabilities are insufficiently assessed and therefore budget allocations are not effective.
For over 25 years, the Open Society Georgia Foundation has been working to protect human rights in the healthcare sector. An essential and integral part of this is the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities that primarily include access to healthcare and other services. Together with partner NGOs and the Georgian Bar Association, we provide free legal aid to persons with disabilities, addressing completely different issues, including property disputes. We are working with municipalities, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and the Tbilisi City Hall in order to make healthcare, education and other services accessible to persons with disabilities, to adapt buildings and infrastructure for wheelchair users and to provide sound alerts in public transport and road crossings for blind persons. We provide capacity building of organizations of disabled and parents to make them able to fight for their rights. They know best what they need.