Two volunteers push an empty wheelchair up the steep hill to Prizren’s ancient castle, symbolizing the disappointment of persons with muscular dystrophy who could not make this journey. This was among the many activities organized to mark the week of persons with muscular dystrophy.
This year, the Organization for Persons with Muscular Dystrophy of Kosova (OPMDK) focused on insufficient support from public institutions. Only the Ministry for Culture, Youth and Sport and the Kosova Women’s Network have supported the organization financially in the last two years.
They released balloons of different colors into the blue sky. Each balloon had the name of an institution that should work towards ensuring protection of human rights. Balloons were released at the same time from the castle and the center of town.
“For six days, through different activities we will raise our voice and show our problems, needs and concerns and will address them in both levels of government: local and central,” said Antigona Shestan from OPDMK. “The good thing is that this project is a continuation of what we have already done last year through our project supported by Kosova Women’s Network, where we achieved to mark 27 of around 50 access points to public buildings for persons with muscular dystrophy. This was done in cooperation with the Department of Public Services of our municipality.”
On May 27, they also decorated a beautiful plant with colorful papers, each expressing a need, challenge or problem that persons with muscular dystrophy face. They opened a tent where they and volunteers distributed leaflets about the rights and demands of persons with muscular dystrophy. They also acted out a short drama sketch, expressing the problems they face in their everyday life.
“The lack of implementation of some administrative orders and laws regarding technical access to public buildings makes it difficult for people with disabilities and these problems are not being resolved,” said Gëzim Abazi from Handicap Kosova. “NGOs, and more specifically Handicap Kosova, now is not only looking into the implementation of these laws, but we’re also verifying who’s not implementing them in order to fine those people.”
OPMDK also will hand in a document detailing their rights, demands, and identifying other access points to public buildings that need to be fixed by institutions responsible for resolving these issues.