joined the United Nation's observance of International
Day of Disabled Persons Tuesday (December 3).
It was a day to recognize "people who are
equal and valuable members of society and who
create material and cultural values," said
the head of the UN Armenia Public Relations Department
Many disabled people, representatives of ministries,
Non-Governmental Organizations dealing with issues
connected with invalids and guests gathered at
the Armenian office of UN.
Among the guests for the celebratory occasion,
19-year old Hayk Grigoryan expressed a common
not happy today. I have a wish that there are
no invalids at all in the world."
The reality is more severe. Today there are 110,000
invalids living in Armenia.
Head of the Invalids Issues Department of the
Ministry of Social Welfare Jemma Baghdasaryan
says, "our main goal is to integrate invalids
into society and create equal conditions for all
of them. We resolve many issues with about 15
NGOs that are dealing with invalids' problems."
The disabled themselves are of different opinion
President of the Veratsnund Charity Fund dealing
with those having spinal defects Misha Mkrtchyan
(pictured) says, "it would be more correct
to prepare society to integrate with invalids.
And invalids' integration must start from their
families, neighborhood, and salesmen of their
An exhibition in the UN office's gallery tells
about huge work done by Bridge of Hope and Pyunic
The head of Pyunic's Armenian office (it is also
registered in the US) says that many problems
concerning invalids are solved by their efforts,
however there are questions that need attention
from the State and the international awareness
day is a reminder.
"Today we involuntary find ourselves in
the center of the republic's attention,"
Mkrtchyan says. "We are taken into account."
A round table discussion at the Union of the
Architects was dedicated to the invalids' adaptation
to the urban demands in the field of design and
buildings, constructions, roads almost don't correspond
to the people with limited possibilities. It's
necessary to prepare new programs of construction,
which will provide invalids with the available
conditions," says head of the Urbanization
and Natural Resources Department of the Administration
of the Government Sirekan Ohanyan.
The new streets constructed in Yerevan by the
Lincy Fund are an example of an attempt at meeting
needs of the disabled, as sidewalks have been
built to include access ramps.
"I always dreamt to see special ramps in
our city. Of course, I've not passed on them yet
but I'm very happy and thankful," says 19
year old Arevik Musakhanyan (pictured) from Yerevan.
Although the ramps don't correspond to international
standards the effort is appreciated by those who
"I myself participated in preparing the
letters to the Government. We asked to make some
changes in the design works implemented by the
Lincy project," Mkrtchyan says. "And
as a result those special ramps were prepared.
Of course, there is a 1-3cm barrier but an invalid
can overcome it with the wheelchair. The important
thing is that they have started to make those
changes and in future they will fix it."
According to Ohanyan, from now on the issue of
providing invalids with equal conditions will
concern construction and design of the new buildings
and buildings that are under reconstruction.
"My friend is in a wheelchair," says
Anahit Vardanyan. "When we were in some parks
with her, we felt bad. But now we are extremely
happy as at last special ramps were built."