How Ukrainians Are Making Their Society Inclusive

March 11, 2021

There are 2,6 million people with disabilities in Ukraine. While its cities are still far from inclusive, business and civil society are trying to change that. The number of such initiatives and NGOs has significantly increased in the past few years.

3 AM museum in Kyiv is one of them. It offers tours in total darkness to give visitors insight into the lives of people with visual impairment. To experience the world outside as a blind person does, one can take the Feel Kyiv walking tour, led by blind guides. In this way 3 AM museum helps people to understand the real-life struggles of blind people in Kyiv that is largely unadapted to their needs.

Some inclusive initiatives work to engage people with disabilities in active social life. As part of the Fight For Rights campaign, these women were riding quad bikes to prove that people with disabilities can enjoy being active. Their goal is to break stereotypes about people with disabilities. Stigmas against them prevent many from finding well-paid jobs, working in politics, and being socially active.

The Fight For Rights campaign promoted a workshop on leadership for women with disabilities. They hope it will help women with disabilities from the regions to feel more confident and create a network to boost their careers.

Socially responsible business is mainly an aspiration in Ukraine. But more entrepreneurs are making inclusion part of their strategies. Lviv’s Lady Di Atelier is the first inclusive tailor shop In Ukraine. It produces scarves with prints painted by women and children with disabilities. The tailor shop puts paintings on sale so that their authors can earn money. The best artworks turn into designer scarves. Having already earned clients among Ukrainian celebrities, their goal is to reach hearts globally.

These inclusive initiatives are drops in the bucket, however they are key to paving the way towards an equal society in Ukraine.

Authors: Iryna Matviyishyn and Anna Yakutenko

The material was prepared with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the project Stories from Ukraine. The material reflects the position of the authors and does not necessarily coincide with the position of the International Renaissance Foundation.