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People with disabilities require more state support regarding labour market integration and accessibility of education


Problems are the same in all countries, therefore work on development of the unique data base was started in the first place and in overall achieved results are evaluated as very successful – to the such conclusion arrived all participants of the international project „Learning Lab for Integration”. After visiting several centers and associations it was convincing that different projects of integration of disabled people into society in Latvia are carried out successfully. This study visit was attended by representatives of: Apeirons, Comperio Ltd. (Latvia), Espiral Entitat de Serveis (Spain), Incorpora Girona (Spain), Sant Tomas(Spain), Plataforma Educativa (Spain), Point Europa (United Kingdom) un Independence Southwest (United Kingdom).

Project participants visited the Association of Liepaja Blind People, where chairman of the association Maris Ceirulis showed as yet accomplished work on administration of the free time activities – weaving and macramé workshop, needlework and computer classes, gym and exercise equipment and also specialy adjusted table games (checkers, chess). Our project participants were welcome to test their skills reading and writing texts in Braille letters, to look at the world through various spectacles made for people with different visual disorders, to read with a magnifying glass or specially contrasted computer screens adjusted for work of people with visual disorders.

In a special classroom blind people are taught to make meals single-handed because majority of them live alone and they have to take care of their everyday necessities themselves. Project participant’s could evaluate aids installations in Liepaja city for people with visual disorders – the signs of numbers of the public transport contrasting on a yellow background and yellow stickers on the road signs. Association of Liepaja Blind People makes special newspaper accessible in 3 versions – usual print, Braille letter version and audio type cassettes. Association has recently finished decoration of all walls, doors, switches and door openings are special painted in contrasting colors.

During the visit in the University of Liepaja, our participants found out that university has begun to seek for solutions to help and teach people with disability to receive university degree in the subject they are interested in and much more suitable for them, instead of choosing the subject that is more physically accessible. Liepajas University has invested more than 100 000 LVL (Latvian Lats) to built an extension for entrance ramp, accessible stairs and elevator. „Unfortunately, we can not completely solve this problem, because people still have to make the entire road to the university. Improvement of environment availability in Liepaja University will continue,” explained the Liepaja University Economic pro-rector Maris Leimants.

For the last few years people with disabilities are able to learn professional skills and professions at the State Agency of Social Integration in Jurmala and agency affiliates. During this study visit partipicipants also visited Ciravas vocational secondary school where in the framework of project Ciravas vocational secondary school professional rehabilitation and training for disabled people are able to learn professions such as carpenter, cook, accountant and motor engineering assistants. This summer there were 105 graduates in these specialties. People with disabilities are studying together with other pupils, taking part in the schools social life and other school activities. There is also located one of before mentioned affiliates of the State Agency of Social Integration in Cirava whose task is to gather information and to inform people with disabilities about professional rehabilitation possibilities and provide consultation service regarding choice of suitable profession.


Public understanding and tolerance could be promoted with help of State Special Education Center (SSEC) which was founded in 2007 and administrated by Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia. Main goals of SSEC is to create help and support systems for families and schools, methodological guidelines for schools and teachers working with children with disabilities. During the meeting at SSEC Mudite Reigase director’s deputy underlined that the integration education is further matter (lots of work still has to be done). At the moment there are 36 specialized nursery schools, 62 specialized schools and 2 specialized secondary schools. In the future SSEC wishes to see more integration in the ordinary schools and more responsive special schools, but the most important is to follow the principle – may it be better for each particular child

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.