Center for independent living wants to tell the TRUTH about the issue of accessible schools in Sofia in connection with the broadcast of a bTV’s reportage, on May 19, this year.

After two months of fieldwork, a trained team of CIL made an expertise on accessibility in 140 schools (out of 146 municipal ones). It showed the following:

– There are ramps in 27 schools – all of them are eligible: slip resistance, railing availability;

– There are elevators in 4 schools, but only 2 are eligible: wide enough door, sound and visual signal;

– There are accessible toilets in 30 schools. Only 25 are eligible: a door wide enough, enough cabin space.

According to the deputy mayor for social affairs Albena Atanasova, accessible schools in Sofia are 65-70, fully accessible – 3 (having all three facilities at a minimum).

Obviously, Ms. Atanasova understands the word “accessibility” by having ONLY one of the three minimum conditions – either a toilet, or a ramp, or an elevator. This means that the boy from the reportage – Ivan can only:

– to enter a school, if there is a ramp,

– to get in the classroom /if there is an elevator/ but by the time he has to visit the toilet…. then Mom takes him home.

Speaking truly, there are three accessible schools – the rest are not!

As people who uphold the principles of independent living and human rights of children with disabilities, we insist that you honestly comment the situation. The approximate naming of 65-70 accessible schools by dep. mayor Mrs. Atanasova, spokes about ignorance of the problem and disrespect for children with disabilities and their parents.

CIL insists once again behind the word ACCESSIBILITY, minimum three requirements to be available – ramps, lifts and special toilets. There is no such term as more accessible or more affordable.

We want all children to have complete, not inferior life.

The “concern and humanity” of Ms. Svetla Katsarova, the director of the 45th Primary School, made a great impression on us. Simple logic indicates that, if she wants to help Paulina and Ivan, she will find a way to make the school accessible, or at least move his class to study in the rooms on the first floor. It is so easy! Moreover, you do not need money, but heart and empathy.