Strengthening vocational skills – cornerstones for social inclusionMar 2, 2016
The renovated classrooms of vocational education workshops such as carpentry, tailoring and shoemaking were inaugurated today at the Deaf Students Institute. Fifty six deaf students from the 6th to the 9th grade, out of whom twenty five girls, learn a profession in these workshops.
"Acquiring vocational skills is of vital importance for children and young persons with hearing impairments. This will enable them to find income generating employment and to avoid exclusion from the political, economic, cultural and civic life" - said the Director of the Institute Mrs Azbie Ramaj.
The Ambassador of Switzerland to Albania Mr. Christoph Graf, among others highlighted that:" Each individual and group of society deserves due respect. Each individual is able to contribute to societal wellbeing, according to his/her own possibilities. This institute and today’s inauguration illustrate that investment in young people is beneficial; I am convinced that it will even be economically a viable investment in the long run. The children who attend this institute are gifted with talents. Their hands talk.
The students of this Institute, the only one of its kind in Albania, often end their education cycle with the completion of the compulsory education since attendance of the mainstream secondary education is almost impossible due to the barriers in communication. The risk of social exclusion for these individuals increases when the "disability" factor is multiplied by other factors that are consistently a cause for discrimination, such as gender, ethnicity, poverty, geographical origin or other multiple disabilities.
The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Albania Brian J. Williams present at the event highlighted: “The rehabilitation of the vocational education workshops in the Institute of Deaf Students shows the will and commitment of Albanian institutions to implement the government's policy agenda regarding the social inclusion of persons with disabilities. It also demonstrates the well-understanding of the links between vocational skills and social inclusion. I would like to express our gratitude for the government of Switzerland for their unwavering support to the work of UN to further advance the rights of people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups in Albania”.
The Albanian sign language was officially recognized by a Decision of the Council of Ministers on December 3, 2014 as a means of communication for the persons unable to hear and speak. The preparation of sign language interpreters and the provision of this service to the persons with hearing impairments will enable their access to public services, such as healthcare, social care, education, employment, training, justice and culture on an equal basis with the others.
The vocational education workshops at the Deaf Students Institute were rehabilitated with the support of UNDP in the framework of the United Nations Support to Social Inclusion in Albania Program. The program is funded by the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency (SDC) and implemented by the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth in partnership with UNDP and other UN Agencies in Albania.
6.2 per cent of the adult population in Albania suffers from some sort of disability. The figure refers to people who identify themselves as having severe or extreme difficulty in at least one of the following: seeing, hearing, mobility, cognition, self-care, communication, or disability. The most commonly encountered type of disability is movement restrictions (3.7 per cent), and the least common ones are hearing and communication (1.7 and 1.5 per cent respectively), while vision, learning and self-care fall somewhere in between.
In Albania, disabled children are overrepresented in the category of primary-school-aged children not attending school, especially when having hearing and mobility difficulties.
Only half of children with hearing difficulties or mobility difficulties are attending schools.