The accessibility of Sofia was again the main problem at the discussion, this time in the Nova TV program “Hello, Bulgaria” on June 8th. Vanya Pandieva and Lisa Boncheva from the Center for Independent Living and the mother of a child with a disability – Nadia Tsareva from the National Alliance “Smile with Me” shared their daily difficulties in the reportage. Kapka Panayotova – Center for Independent Living, Stoyan Bratoev from Metropolitan-Sofia and Minka Vladimirova – social worker at Sofia Municipality debated in the studio. Here are the main points and statements of the different parties in the discussion:

Stoyan Bratoev: “The Sofia subway is one of the metropolitens in the world, which has a high percentage of accessible environment for people with disabilities.” “After 2000, we started working on this, and from the first 8 stations, we made 5 accessible. Three more remain and they will be equipped by the end of the year. All new stations built after 2000 have elevators for people with disabilities, “explained Eng. Bratanov. He guarantees that next year our subway will be 100% accessible for people with disabilities.

Kapka Panayotova: “I wish to be still alive for this moment! The saga of the Sofia subway has been going on for more than 15 years. The subway’s problem is not just about the elevators – a set of measures must be taken.” She again explained that accessibility is a concept that is not of a comparative. “There is no “more accessible Sofia” like there is no “more pregnant woman”!

Minka Vladimirova: “Our capital is still not accessible enough. In 2005, out of 196 kindergartens, there were only two with ramps. Out of 180 schools, only eight have ramps and four elevators. At present, 42 schools and 40 kindergartens have an accessible environment, “said Nina Vladimirova.

Kapka Panayotova: “Two-thirds of the above information is not correct! There are only four fully accessible schools in Sofia, with everything you need at a basic level – there is an outside entrance, there is an elevator and there is a toilet. The disabled child should be able to study, to move, and to pee in this school!” This discussion is another example of the discrepancy between people with disabilities, mothers with strollers and all residents of the capital with disabilities on the one hand and the governing ones on the other. The idea and the statement of “accessible” are used in an obviously different sense. The difference is that people with disabilities are concerned with their daily lives, and those in governing- with performance reports.

We hope next time, when we will meet, the conversation will be HONEST.