Karelian-Finnish seminar Social and Labour Integration of the Disabled opened on September, 15 in the Puppet Theatre of the Republic of Karelia.
The seminar is held within the scope of the memorandum on results of negotiations between the Government of the Republic of Karelia and the Regional Agency of the Government of North Finland concerning bilaterial cooperation in 2010-2011.
Experts in the field of education, culture, labour and employment, social service, public organizations of the disabled were invited to the seminar. The delegation of the Finnish party is presented by 20 representatives of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland, Department of bodies of the government for North Finland, University of Oulu, representatives of communes.
Participants of the international seminar
Valentina Ulich, Deputy Head of the Republic of Karelia and Minister of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Karelia, and Marja-Leena Kärkkänen, Head of the Department of bodies of the government for North Finland, welcomed participants of the seminar.
– The subject of today's seminar is one of the most actual and socially important. We should discuss guidelines of the state policy in interests of the handicapped people, exchange experience of applying advanced social technologies, forms and methods of work focused on social integration of the disabled, – Valentina Ulich said opening the seminar.
Marja-Leena Kärkkänen made special mention of a good level of preparation for the seminar and has thanked its organizers.
Svetlana Antokhina, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Development of the Republic of Karelia, has told about guidelines of the state policy pursued in the Republic of Karelia in respect of the handicapped.
– Medically, the handicapped are limited to their physical or intellectual disabilities, they need treatment and supporting rehabilitation programs. From the social point of view every person is beneficial to society irrespective of his or her competences. Then the society and its social behaviour in relation to all citizens should change. Thus, our general task is to change the society to have an opportunity to satisfy needs of every person, to transform the disabled from the 'object' of the society into the 'subject', having ensured his or her independent living, independence from social benefits, to grant an opportunity to receive education, to find a job, to ensure the entitlement to a productive life, – Svetlana Antokhina has in particular mentioned in her speech.
In Karelia 75861 people are disabled, including 1952 children. The share of this category of citizens makes 11.8% of population of the republic.
In her statement Svetlana Antokhina has dwelled on the issue of powers of federal and republican authorities in the field of social protection of the handicapped, spheres of the social security system, issues of education and labour activity of people with disabilities, granting social services to the handicapped and work on creation of conditions for organization of leisure for this category of citizens, participation in cultural life of the republic, doing different sports.
The seminar will last for two days. In breakup groups experts will discuss ways to improve services rendered to the disabled in the field of training, employment, cultural rehabilitation; experience of public organizations as active participants of social changes is studied.