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Conclusions of the Finnish Mobility

17. 05. 16
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Question Finland Germany Italy Poland Spain

1. “Disabled” is a term, which can mean many things. How is the term defined in your country?

According to the Finnish law, a disabled person is a person who experiences longtime difficulties with everyday life because of a disability or a disease.


Brockhaus, Book of social law IX:

l  Congenital or aquired damage

l  Impairment of basic functions;

Continuation in social role;

Participation in society

l  Damage over 50% → Severe Disability

In Germany

l  Over 10 Million people  → ~ 12,5% of poulation

l  7,5 Million of them severely     → ~ 9,4%

In the common language terms like “impairment”, “handicap” and “disability” are usually used    as synonyms to describe a disabled person.  DISABILITY: The condition of  being unable  to perform as a consequence of mental  or physical disadvantage.  Someone who is disabled has an illness  or a condition  that restricts the way they can live. With the new I.C.F.  of  W.H.O.  the term “handicap” is not used anymore.

According to the Polish law (Polish Constitution 2nd April 1997) a disabled person is a person whose physical, psycho and mental condition, either long lasting or temporary one, limit or unable everyday life. In the past the term “invalid” was used, but it ment that this person was worthless so it was changed into “disabled”.

But still it is considered to be inaccurate so it is best to use the term “a person with disability”.

In Spain disabled are called “people with functional diversity”


2. Which laws do you have in your country that are related to the rights of the disabled?

  • According to the Finnish constitution all people are equal before the law, and nobody shall be treated in different way because of disability.
  • Non-Discrimination law:  In Finland proper adjustments  needed in the situation must be made for people with disabilities so they can be equal with other people.
  • November 1994, GG Art.3: „No one can be penalized because of ones disability“
  • July 2001, SG: Rehabilitation and Disability rights
  • May 2002GG: Law of equality for disabled people

There are different laws that guarantee the right of disabled students to attend the public school. However, the principle of the school integration was recognized only in the 70s.

  • 1948 : Italian Constitution underlined the idea of equality among people at school;
  • 1971:  Law n.118 : first law about people with disabilities appeared;
  • 1977:  Law n.517: added the “special educational needs teacher”;
  • 1992:  Law n.104: “Legge Quadro”. It gives a complete view for the integration at school, at work and in the society for people with disabilities.

  • POLISH CONSTITUTION 2nd April 1997

In Poland, legal protection of people with disabilities is above all guaranteed by the Constitution,which contains primary legal regulations on the protection of human rights, enacted in numerous acts and implementing regulations. Art. 2 of the Constitution reads that Poland is a democratic state which implements the principle of social justice. This principle demands protection of and assistance to the weaker by ensuring them a decent life and access to cultural goods.


The Convention aims to protect dignity of all disabled persons and provide them

with a possibility of limitless exercising fundamental human rights on par with fully able people.

1978: Democratic Constitution, 1982: Social Integration Law of Disabled People, 2006: Law for the promotion of personal autonomy and care for dependent people, 2013: General Law of Disabled People Rights and their Social Inclusion.

3. How has the societal position of disabled people changed in your country in the past few decades?

In Finland there was a law about disabled people not being  allowed to married. The law was written in 1929 and abolished in 1987.  There was also a law about sterilization of disabled people because society didn’t want to continue the spreading of disability. That law existed from  1935 to 1970. Developmental disability-law (1970s): regulations about special needs given for persons, whose development or mental activity has been prevented. UN’s disabled pact was approved in 2006 and became valid nationally in 2008. Finland didn’t ratify it until in 2016. Disabled people were able to go to school and work in the 1980s. Nowadays they have an assistant with them if they need any help at school.

  • November 1994, GG Art.3: „No one can be penalized because of ones disability“
  • July 2001, SG: Rehabilitation and Disability rights
  • May 2002GG: Law of equality for disabled people

4,100,000 people with disabilities in Italy today (about 6.7% of the population).


       Illness that affected mostly children at birth or at an early age;

       Accidents at work;

       Road accidents.   

      During the years, the number of disabled students has increased from 117,000 to over 200,000.

    Italy is the country where students with disabilities are more integrated in schools.

In the seventies disabled - as a result of a number of architectural barriers - rarely  left the house. They were almost invisible in society. Today, people with disabilities in the public space are more and more visible, not necessarily as a social welfare clients or patients of rehabilitation departments, or individuals who define in advance  their needs. Often these are people who do well. They are partners in our various projects every day. And it is indeed during these decades definitely a new quality.

The attitude of our society towards people with disabilities is clearly improving.

1978: Democratic Constitution, 1982: Social Integration Law of Disabled People, 2006: Law for the promotion of personal autonomy and care for dependent people, 2013: General Law of Disabled People Rights and their Social Inclusion.

4. Which organizations for disabled people exist in your country and what do they do?

Kehitysvammaisten tuki ry (Support for Disabled People) is operating in Finland regionally. There are also many organizations concentrated on one particular disability like Brain Injury and Support Foundation for Disabled Children.  Other organizations take disabled people and people with long term illnesses into consideration by having a special groups for them. For example, Finnish scout have the Sisu Scout for people who need special care when scouting. Sisu is Finnish for courage.

DRK (Deutsches Rotes Kreuz)

l  Support, care

l  Driving service

l  Support for familys

l  Helpline

l  Schoolassistent

l  Activitys


l  Evangelical facility

l  Special schools

l  Places to live

l  (Integration of refugies)

There are a lot of associations for disable people in Italy, the most important are:

  • National Association For Italian Disable (ANDI)
  • National Council About Disability (CND)
  • Italian Network of  Disability And Development (RIDS)

In Codigoro (our town) disabled people are supported by  different types of organizations; some of them are:

  • Il Faro
  • Le Dune di Sabbia
  • Il Germoglio

”Family Help Centers”, PFRON [government], ”Wielka Orkiestra Swiatecznej Pomocy”, ”Budzik”, ”Poza Horyzonty

COCEMFE Alicante, ONCE, Fundación Adecco, European Disability Forum, Cermi-CV

5. How are disabled people supported by the municipality and state in your country?

  • Social welfare
  • Health services
  • Hospital pays for medicines and aids for example: wheelchairs and crutches
  • Housing benefit: If a disabled person is able to move to his/her own home, municipality has to give him/her housing benefit.

These are supported by municipality

  • Government supports the employment of disabled people
  • For example they can work at storages or grocery stores
  • At work, they have a job coach to help them
  • If they aren’t able to work, they can get a disability pension
  • Municipalities organize recreations like clubs and hobbies
  • If they need to, they can get peer support, personal assistant, a shuttle service
  • They must have the possibility to get at least 30 hours of support a month

  • disability allowances
  • In Poland, there are social organisations which operate with the financial support provided by the State Fund of Rehabilitation of Handicapped People (PFRON) to arrange supported employment. The idea of supported employment, including professional assistance in obtaining a degree, finding a job and remaining on the job market accessible to all people, should be implemented on an increasingly wider scale, replacing forms of professional activity reserved exclusively for people with disabilities.
  • Municipalities give the opportunity to develop their hobbies, interests, abilities.
  • Nursing homes

Subsidy of mobility and compensation for the expenses transport, rehabilition, Special education and medical orientation.

6. What is working and studying like for disabled people in your country? How many percent of the disabled are working?

Special classes have been arranged for the disabled in normal schools and some of them can be in a normal class. They can have personal classroom assistant whom the school arranges for the student. A student can also have a right for personal help. The student’s home town is responsible for arranging it. The helper is granted by the law of disabled services. Kela (The Social Insurance Institution) can grant school transport benefit to a student whose one-way school trip is at least 10 km. The education organizer arranges the accommodation. Living in the organizer´s dormitory is free for the student.

In Finland disabled people have the same rights for studying and working as healthy people.  They go to comprehensive school just like healthy people and after that studying is optional. To get to a school they have to apply to a certain place that takes disabled people. For example Luovi takes some disabled people and if they don’t get in, they can apply to an activity center. There they do all kind of handicrafts.

In all of the places where disabled people go to study or to work there has to be a wheelchair ramp to help them to move around.

How many percent of the disabled are working?

In Finland it was estimated in 2010 that about 12,3% of the people are disabled. This equals to about 700 000 people. The  statistics about employment do not differentiate disabled from people with long term illness. The employment rate for this combined group was roughly 25% in 1998-2002, which means that 75% weren’t working at that time.

l  Special Schools

l  Equippment

l  Difficulty in finding work

l  Help for integration from the state:

→ extra payments

→ higher protection against dismissal

l  Equality

Disabled  people  at  school: In Italy the most significant laws in favour of integration say that children with disabilities can be included in regular classes: in fact in the past they had to attend “special schools”. 1977:  law n.512 that abolished the “special schools” and promoted an Individualized Educational Plan for disabled children. This educational plan is possible thanks to the introduction of the “special education teacher” that simplifies the integration of the children with disabilities in the class. The integration into school life is essential for the development of the ability and to become part of the society.

Disabled people at work:   Principle of aimed employment :  foresees that the placement of the disabled person has to respect the working capacities of the workers without penalizing the expectations of the employing company.     

About 21% of the disabled people have a job.

Disabled people in their working age but not able to work: 27%

Disabled women employment: 11%

Disabled men employment: 29%

Special Schools

Special classes with a personal classroom assistant

Individual teaching at school or home


More and more people with disabilities are studying at Polish universities.  In 2005, there were just over 9,000,  in 2007 - almost 20 thousand and in 2010 - almost 30 thousand.

In Poland there are nearly 3.4 million people with disabilities, including 2.1 million in the productive age. Of these works, only 465 thousand. (27.3%). Although every year, this ratio is improving, it is still far behind other countries in the European Union where employment of people with disabilities is about 50%

What makes it difficult to find work

  • variable law
  • prejudices
  • bad education
  • architectural barriers

The unemployment rate of disabled people was 4-9% greater than among the non-disabled in 2008-2014.

7. What are the problems faced by the disabled in your society? Are their human rights respected well? (Choose some Articles of Human rights)


Problems faced by disabled people in our society: In our society disabled people face lots of different kinds of problems in their everyday life. In the end every disability has one single problem: freedom restriction. Fortunately, our society guarantees concessions that help those people. We can find them in some articles of the United Nations document about Human Rights.

Main problems the disabled people face:

  • Rudness
  • Intolerance
  • Badly designed cities
  • Low budget

architectural barriers


Human Rights in a European Community of Values