İzmir Metropolitan Municipality provides its services within the perspective of inclusive democracy policies, family policies, health policies, education policies, transportation policies, employment policies based on human rights; as well as international agreements.
The ongoing works oriented to our citizens with disabilities are being undertaken under the service titles of: Education, Transportation, Accessible Environment, Inclusion to Politics and Public Life, Inclusion to Culture, Art and Sports Activities, Health and Rehabilitation, Labour and Employment, Information and Communication, Raising Awareness and Social Aids.
İzmir Metropolitan Municipality was awarded with the title of ‘Disabled Friendly Municipality” by the Turkish Prime Ministry, Department of the Administration of the Disabled, in 2005. Likewise, the years of 2010, 2011 and 2012 were declared “Year of People with Disabilities” with the decree of the İzmir Metropolitan Municipal Council.
Services to people with disabilities are continued to be given under the roof of Directorate of Disability Services that was established in 2014. As of today, there are 4 Service Centers; namely Buca, Konak and İnciraltı Disability Service Centers as well as the Awareness Center that operates under the Directorate of Disability Services.
Psycho-social service of the Directorate of Disability Services also gives guidance and counseling along social consulting. Counseling service by the expert personnel on education, health, social aid, transportation, employment and legal issues is offered to the people with disabilities and their relatives. In addition, people with disabilities are also directed to relevant institutions according to their needs and counseling is given both about the services of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality and they are enlightened about the disability rights.
Psychological Guidance and Consulting services are other services that are provided for the people with disabilities and their families who need special training. Training services are supported with “Family Training Programme”.
Buca Service Center
Buca Service Center is located in Social Life Campus in Buca district of İzmir. Trainings such as pre-school and school education, personal development, social guidance, sport activities, handicrafts, painting and drama are given.
Family Training Programme is offered to the relatives of people with disabilities. Women’s health training project, women rights training project and also sports activities such as pilates, and step-aerobics are conducted. While the children with disabilities are given training, awareness raising efforts are maintained oriented for their families.
Psychological guidance, counseling and social consulting services are given in this center.
Konak Service Center
In Konak Service Center, located in Konak district, courses such as painting, drama, table tennis, boccia, literacy and creative drama are given. With the cooperation of Konak City Public Library, Education Support Project for the Visually Impaired People is conducted. Volunteers do reading activities with the visually impaired people.
İnciraltı Service Center
This center, located at Ahmet Piriştina City Forest, courses such as literacy, modern dance, Latin dance, classic dance, physical training, handicrafts, table tennis, folk dances, step-aerobics, playing musical instruments like "baglama" (instrument with three double strings) are given. There is a Turkish Folk Music choir and also a Turkish Art Music choir and they give concerts on special days. There is a Hobby Garden with the size of 100 square meters. With this garden, contributing to the rehabilitation of people with disabilities is aimed. The only Scout Group in Turkey that is composed of people with disabilities continues its works in İnciraltı Service Center.
This center, established in 2016, is one of a kind in the whole of Turkey. It was established with the aim of drawing attention to the problems of people with disabilities, to narrate their challenges and obstacles and to raise the awareness of the public. In the planning and functionality process of the center, consultancy from Dokuz Eylül University Special Education Department was received. As December 2017, 5230 people participated to the trainings of the Center. The Awareness Center was also mentioned an exemplary implementation in 2018 Primary Education 4th grade Social Sciences Lesson Book.
Training services are given in service centers to the children with disabilities and their families. They get training within the frame of a programme that is prepared in accordance with the relevant reports and pre-interviews.
Individualized Education: Pre-school and school
These are such trainings given in accordance with the Guidance Research Reports. The developmental features of the children and teenagers as well as their individual differences are taken into consideration. The program aims to develop the talents and fulfills the expectations of the families.
Individual trainings are conducted in order to strengthen the individuals that have insufficiencies in their mental abilities.
Handicrafts and Painting
These are individual and group trainings that are organized with the aim of rehabilitation, socialization and inclusion to community. Mentioned trainings are also open to the families of people with disabilities. The works are displayed in different periods and there is also participation to national and international competitions. 86 awards have been won until now. In 2017, people with disabilities that took painting trainings participated in many painting competitions. Below are some of the awards won:
-2nd prize from the painting competition organized by Sea Chamber of Commerce
- Jury’s Special award from the painting competition organized by İzmir Park
- Honorable mention from the cartoon contest organized by City National Education Directorate and Environment and Urbanization City Directorate
- Jury’s Special Award from the cartoon contest organized by Rotary.
Within the content of People with Disabilities Week that was organized by Bornova Municipality between the dates of May 10 and 16, 2017, people with disabilities participated to the painting exhibition in Büyükpark and Çamdibi Accessible Life Centers besides the painting exhibition in Sığacık. 60 disabled students that took art training in the accessible service centers opened an international art exhibition with the cooperation of Berlin Kaynak Art Workshop. The exhibition was open to visit for a week in İzmir Art Center and will be exhibited in Berlin in 2018.
Music trainings are given to children and adults with disabilities in order to support their personal development and socializing. Within this concept, Turkish Folk Music and Turkish Art Music choirs consisting of people with disabilities continue their works and give concerts on special days.
The sports trainings are provided in order to support the psycho-motor development and physical growth of the children and teenagers with disabilities. In the service centers, courses such as boccia, table tennis, step-modern dance and aikido are given. There are also courses like pilates and step-aerobics for the families of people with disabilities.
Boccia sport is for people with spastic disability. Disabled Boccia team won the Turkey Championship and became the Champion in Turkish National Team selections, won 2 championship awards in different categories along with 2 second prize awards and 2 third prize awards in 2014. Boccia team won the first and third prize awards in 2017 Turkey Boccia Championship. There are now 15 individuals with disabilities that participate to Boccia trainings.
“Hippotherapy” trainings are given to children with disabilities once a week for 10 weeks within the framework of the common programme designed in collaboration with the Jockey Club of Turkey. These trainings aim to strengthen the muscles of physically handicapped children, to provide exercises that improve their balance coordination and to prevent behavior disorders of the mentally impaired children.
Within the content of the programme held in Buca Hippodrome, children with disabilities who ride ponies under the supervision of experts, gain considerable educational attainments.
Basic Disaster Training
As Turkey and İzmir are under the risk of natural disasters, this training aims to protect people with disabilities from natural disasters such as earthquake, fire, flood…etc. and inform the relatives of people with disabilities about how to act during disasters. These trainings, which started in October in 2017 is organized with the cooperation of the Fire Department and the Directorate of Disability Services of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality. Up to the present, 60 people with disabilities and their relatives have taken basic disaster trainings.
International Disability Workshops
In October 2017, workshops aiming to raise awareness for people with disabilities and their families were held with the cooperation of Berlin Mina Training Center in Germany and the Directorate of Disability Services of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality.
PROJECTS AND PROGRAMMES
Hand in Hand Project for the Disabled
The project was started to be implemented within the frame of the protocol that was signed between İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, İzmir Branch of Turkey Handicap Association and Çağdaş Association of the Visually Handicapped in 2013. The aim of this project is to enable the inclusion of housebound people with disabilities into social life through the companion of volunteer teenagers. Within this concept, it is aimed to bring people with disabilities and teenagers together around different trainings and events.
"Accessible İzmir" Project
With the aim of creating an accessible city for people with disabilities, Accessible İzmir 2013 “International Congress for the Urban Problems of People with Disabilities and Their Solutions” was held between the dates of October 31 and November 3, 2013.
Within this concept, a strategic plan for people with disabilities was prepared, with the slogan of “İzmir for all”. The second Accessible İzmir Congress titled “International Congress of Local Policies Oriented to Increase the Inclusion of People with Disabilities to Social life” was organized between the dates of November 2 and 5, 2016.
During the Preparation Process of the Congress, several Workshops with different themes were organized. These workshops were:
• Different Openings in Sports – Accessible Sports Workshop with the theme of non discriminatory and creative sport
• Accessible Education Workshop with the theme of Universities – “From accessible education to independent life”.
• Innovation Workshop for Accessible Life
Within the Accessible İzmir Project, several social studies were carried out in the schools. The Accessible İzmir Dance Team was formed with the aim of bringing together the physically handicapped and the visually impaired people that do not have the chance to participate in art and cultural events with art.
Family Education Programme
The family education programme that started in 2016 was designed for the families of people with disabilities who get support from the service centers. The aim of this programme is to help parents to raise children who are physically and mentally healthy, who have developed social – self-care and communication skills, to help parents question their parenting roles, turn their knowledge into behaviors and to include parents to the education process of their children.
The content of the education programme designed in accordance with the above mentioned goals is as follows:
• Family in the acceptance process of a disabled child
• Domestic communication
• Nutrition and Hygiene
• Sexual Education
• Pre-childhood period and pre-school education
• Disability rights
These programmes have reached over 220 people by now.
Accessible Scout Unit
This is the only Scout Unit that consists of people with disabilities in Turkey. “Accessible Scouts Unit” was established in 2014 with the aim of “improving the culture of living together with differences”. In the unit, disabled children take theoretical and practical trainings together with unimpeded people. The Accessible Scouts, who participate to the Summer Camp organized at the end of every education term, with their families, spend good time with their scout friends.
Accessible Scouts Unit is represented in national and international levels. In 2015, Accessible Scout Team participated to the North Star 2015 Black Sea Jamborette that was organized in Karasu district of Sakarya. The Scout Unit is registered to World Organization of Independent Scouts and Federation of Scouts Union of Thrace in Turkey. Our Trainers are the founders of Angel Scouts (Accessible Scouts World Table) and runs the term presidency.
Almost 120 people with disabilities, 40 unimpeded people and 15 volunteer teenagers participate to the accessible scout unit activities every year.
Autism Support Project
Through the Autism Support Project, which started in 2015, aims to give vocational courses in the fields of cooking, computer and agriculture and open vocational workshops and hobby garden teaching classes for autistic people. The project also provides free education seminars and psycho-social support programmes to the families of people with disabilities. Anadolu Autism Foundation is the partner of the autism support project.
TRANSPORTATION AND ACCESSIBILITY SERVICES
The Directorate of Disability Services provides transportation services in order disabled citizens to have access to public institutions like hospitals, banks, education institutions with 6 disabled friendly mini buses. Disabled citizens can benefit from this service by taking appointment in the weekdays.
Within the context of the Red Flag Application, which is applied first time in İzmir on the country base, the accessible public indoor and outdoor spaces of public and private institutions, and disabled friendly transportation vehicles are given the “red flag” award.
The Red Flag award has been given to 31 public and 14 private institutions until today.
Within the context of making beaches and piers more accessible, Urla Beach, Seferihisar Akarcalı Beach and Foça New Beach were designed to become accessible for people with disabilities.
We organize meetings and activities in collaboration with different institutions in order to provide services more effectively, share knowledge and experience that would ease the production of common projects. The Disability and Sustainable Employment Workshop, which aimed to contribute to the productivity of disabled citizens in the community, was held by İzmir Metropolitan Municipality with the participation of many institutions in 2017.
CULTURAL AND SOCIAL EVENTS
In the cafeteria that is located in İnciraltı City Forest, which is frequently visited by the disabled people, musical entertainments are organized every week. In summer times, daily cruises to holiday regions like Yassıca Island and Gümüldür are organized for people with disabilities and their families. Similarly, visits to Sasalı Natural Life Park, Museum of Science and Art are made in order to introduce the natural and cultural structure of the city.
Besides the shows of various disability groups, shows, panels and exhibitions are held every December 3rd on the Disability Day and between the 10th and 16th of May on the Disability Week.Films that are specially prepared with voiced descriptions for visually impaired citizens and with subtitles and sign language translation for hearing impaired citizens are being screened during Accessible Cinema Days, which have been realized every year since 2015.
RED FLAG IMPLEMENTATION
Accessible İzmir Red Flag Implementation
One of the most important outputs of the “Accessible Izmir 2013 Congress”, which was organized by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality between the dates of October 30 and November 3, 2013, was the conferring of the “Red Flag” award to “the public indoor and outdoor spaces of private and public institutions that are made accessible for the citizens with disabilities and disabled friendly vehicles.”
With this implementation, which was done for the first time in Turkey, it is aimed to increase the number of accessible spaces for the disabled people. The “Accessible Izmir Red Flag Commission”, consisting of representatives from Izmir City Council, Izmir Municipal Council, Chamber of Architects, Chamber of Civil Engineers, Chamber of Mechanical Engineers, Aegean Region Chamber of Industry, Izmir Chamber of Commerce, Union of Chamber of Merchants and Craftsmen, Associations related with disabled people, in order to specify the criteria related with the issuance of the Red Flag award and carrying out the controls and assessments based on the implementation, was established and the “Accessible Izmir Red Flag Legislation” was accepted by Izmir Municipal Council and put into force.
In order to receive the “Red Flag” award:
In order to receive Red Flag, you need to apply with a written application to the Department of Social Projects of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. A Board of Supervision that was formed by the members of the Commission inspects the field and presents its report to the Commission.
The Commission decides according to the quality of accessibility features of the space. The positive decision is finalized after the approval of the Municipal Council and “Red Flag” award is given to the institution.
What do stars on the Red Flag represent?
One star on the Red Flag represents that the space or the transportation vehicle meets the 60 % of the criteria on the technical specification, two stars represent that the space or the transportation vehicle meets the 75 % of the criteria on the technical specification and three stars represent that the space or the transportation vehicle meets the 90 % of the criterias on the technical specification.
There are 50 institutions that received Red Flag award in Turkey.