Almaty doubles assistance to people with disabilities

ASTANA – The Almaty Employment and Social Programmes Department has doubled its funding this year compared to 2016 to provide social support for people with disabilities.

Photo credit: liter.kz

Photo credit: liter.kz

The department has allocated $12.6 million to assist up to 22,000 people with disabilities in 2017. Approximately 13,000 people were assisted in 2016, department head Aigul Akhmetova announced recently.

A portion of the funds will be used for the first time to purchase the highest quality assistive equipment.

“In 2017, 200 million tenge (US$616,200) has been spent to purchase 958 German and Polish wheelchairs, which were presented to 836 people. Up-to-date equipment was provided to 2,000 deaf people. The equipment worth 593 million tenge (US$1.8 million) includes laptops with software and spoken speech synthesis and reading machines. All people with disabilities, who have been waiting for the equipment since 2012 will be provided with the necessary means,” Akhmetova said.

Resource Centre for Inclusive Vocational Training and Social Adaptation of people with special educational needs was also opened in May.  It hopes to help more than 500 people with disabilities this year improve their employability. The government plans to allocate 60.7 million (US$187,000) to open three centres for 65 people with mental disabilities in the Medeu district.

All people with disabilities in Kazakhstan get social security and have a right to free rehabilitation, access to social infrastructure facilities and information, education and medical care. The government also provides vocational training and retraining, rehabilitation of work capacity and employment. Such people have first-priority access in healthcare, culture, communication, transport and service organisations.

People with disabilities of the first and second degree also have a shorter working day: not more than 36 hours per week under Kazakhstan legislation. An additional annual paid leave up to 15 working days is provided as well. Work at night is allowed only with the consent of a person with disabilities.

Refusal to conclude an employment contract or promotion, dismissal at the initiative of the employer or the transfer of a person with disabilities to another job without his or her consent are prohibited.