Together In Partnership! A summary of 2019

This time last year we promised that we would be even more active and cohesive, and that, within the limits of our possibilities, we would strengthen the cooperation between local civil organisations. We feel we have succeeded. We have new members, new partners, new projects, and took part in every meeting and event that we possibly could. More and more of our members take an active role in the life of our association, they contribute with their ideas, opinions, write blogs, organise and take part in public events, work in team projects, travel abroad, attend trainings, strengthening and shaping our community.

The events of 2109 in a nutshell:

We wrote lots and lots of grant applications, some of which have won. Our activities have been organised around two main projects:  Strengthening Civil Organisations 2019 – SCO/ECK (http://peoplefirst.hu/en/projects/erosodo-civil-kozossegek-eck-2019/).  As part of this project we have been exploring and assessing accessible hiking trails, and were co-organisers of the 3rd Barrier-free Tourism Day. As well as that, we have developed the methodology for barrier-free architectural consultations and have advised local tourist service providers. In cooperation with our partners in the tourism industry, we created a barrier-free tour of the city of Pécs, entitled ‘Hidden City’. Our project team members received remuneration for the work they did.

In November we participated in another successful SCO grant application, as a result the 4th Barrier-free tourism Day will take place in September 2020.

Our other main activity is our ‘sticker’ project, which we have won in collaboration with Pécs Community Foundation. This project has raised more awareness to our work within the community (http://peoplefirst.hu/en/projects/pecs-jovoje-alap-2018-kozossegi-kreativitas-projektek/).  This project involves the gap-filling activity of exploring barrier-free tourist attractions of Pécs. Our members visit various places, every single place visited is evaluated, and categorised based on its accessibility. Accessible places are awarded a sticker, designed by our members, which is then placed on the entrance door. Finally each place is then entered into a database on our website, with photos and a written evaluation. The database is available to the public both in Hungarian and English (http://peoplefirst.hu/en/akadalymentes-pecs/). Our project team members did this work, which is of invaluable importance, for a very modest payment.

In August we won another NFSZK FOF2019 grant, which means we can continue our sticker project, adding new criteria to the assessment.  (http://peoplefirst.hu/projects/nfszk-fof2019-matricas-projekt-2/ )  

Cooperating with and sensitising younger generations, especially those in secondary school, is very important to us. We have been successfully working together with the students of two secondary schools who are doing their community service. Secondary school students can continue to do their community service with our association.

According to the goals of the Local Action Program for Equal Opportunities we have joined forces with other civil organisations to establish an NGO network that would help the work of the local government. We attended and co-organised workshops. Setting up a disability committee is still a priority for us.

Instances of civil cooperation: we had several discussions at the regular afternoon meetings organised by Kerek Világ Alapítvány, in May we attended an open day for civil organisations (Nyitott Udvarok Napja), in June we attended a workshop organised by Civil Közösségek Háza on national and international good practice, as well as workshops on accessibility with the participation of local service providers. We are building a relationship with Kilátás Alapítvány, with the hope of future collaboration in the area of purchase of equipment. We took part in Szomszédság Akadémia, and have given a talk on social campaigns. Last but not least we are working together with Budapest NGOs to establish independent and assisted living.

Our international relations have broadened as well. We have been participating in international projects, have travelled, studied and worked abroad. We organised workshops for people living with disabilities on how to set up a business as a part of an Erasmus+ project, establishing FairShares social enterprise model in Hungary. Its final conference held in English, in Pécs was well attended. In March we developed a sensitising game in cooperation with our German partner, VSBI in Pécs, which we followed up by testing it in 5 German towns, with the help of our members. The goal of Peer AcT Erasmus+ project is to train peer mentors in accessible tourism. In May we attended an international conference in Osijek, and in November two of our members participated in Germany in a week-long training run in English. The training will be repeated in Hungary in early 2020, to pass on the knowledge to five other association members.

Realising the power of social campaigns we have started a number of them and participated in many others both nationally and internationally. Just to name a few of these:

In April we started the ‘Why’ campaign in which we explain briefly why certain things in the world of people living with disabilities are the way they are. Why, for example, disabled parking spaces are so much wider than regular ones; what the tactile guide stripes for the visually impaired mean etc.. To read about the campaign click on ‘Why’ on our homepage (http://peoplefirst.hu/en/miert/). 

In the international campaign InKLOsiv, we showed accessible toilets in Pécs.

In June, People First joined TASZ as a supporting organisation in their campaign for independent living and personal assistance, entitled ‘A Day off for Every Family’.

In October, within the framework of a campaign organised by ‘Lépjünk, hogy léphessenek Alapítvány’ we organised an open forum with the mayoral candidates, where our members talked about their experiences with support services in Pécs and studying at university; women raising children with disabilities; and everyday life in nursing homes.

Our website has a new menu entitled ‘Barrier-Free Pécs’, where barrier-free locations in Pécs can be searched for in various ways. This menu is both for locals who would like to plan their shopping, run errands or just go for a walk, and for tourists planning to visit Pécs. The menu is also available in Hungarian and English.

All the while we had lots of fun spending time together hiking, drinking coffee, exchanging ideas, discussing, convincing each other, visiting concerts, festivals and conferences, playing sports, working…

On 25th December we closed the year with a very cheerful Christmas party where – as always – we welcomed friends and people from Pécs.

To be continued in 2020.

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