You should know your rights to live in the diversified world
“We have been trained in Braille at school, and we have got used to find the information in this format. Reading books in Braille is a same as reading book for healthy person. The difference is only in format. The audio version can be used, but reading provides proper learning of the material, it raises the literacy level and improves the speech culture. The regulatory legal acts typed in Braille are currently topical. The better a person knows his rights, and the more he uses them, the less problems he faces and the easier his life is in our diversified, varied, and interesting world,” Akpar Mendibairov, a lecturer of the Law Faculty in the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, says. “When I studied at the higher educational institution, I did not have an opportunity to read the laws in Braille, and I read the electronic versions in the Screen reader program. However, the program is not always correctly voices the text and one should scroll through the text several times to understand the sense properly.”
The books typed in Braille with the texts of criminal, criminal procedure, civil procedure codes, codes of offenses and violations, as well as the Laws “On the rights and guarantees of persons with disabilities”, “On the state-guaranteed free legal aid”, “On the security and protection against family violence” were published in the current year to expand access to legal information for the persons with vision disabilities.
“We read almost any books”
“We, blind people, read almost all books typed in Braille because there are not so many of them and they are rarely published. It would be also very interesting for me to read the theory of state law and international conventions typed in Braille,” Akpar Mendibairov says.
The laws and codes typed in Braille were forwarded to the Republican Library for the Blind people, the Republican Library for Children’s and Youth Named after Bayalinov, as well as to the AUCA student library to be used by the blind people.
According to Nazira Ilimkazieva, a person with sight impairment of group 1, such materials should be published more: “There are often books in a single copy, and this copy has already been checked out. Persons with disabilities should be provided with an opportunity to develop independently, learn, especially the legal issues. Currently, a person often needs legal assistance. I am lucky to have my father to constantly help me. If I need to write an application, my father reads the content of it to me and then I put my signature. However, a few persons have such helpers.”
According to official data of the Kyrgyz Society for the Blind and Deaf, more than 5 thousand persons with vision disabilities and more than 4 thousand citizens with hearing disabilities are registered in our country.
Video films with sign language interpretation were created in Kyrgyzstan for the first time
Educational video films called “ABC of Rights”, besides the books typed in Braille script, were created for the people with vision and hearing disabilities in Kyrgyzstan. The series of video films with explanations in sign-interpretation covers such topics as the Constitution, the state, judicial system, international acts, marriage issues, benefits, pensions, alimony, inheritance, and entrepreneurial activities. These videos are posted in the Internet and distributed in different groups used by the people with hearing disabilities.
These educational materials on legal nature were prepared by the Social Center “Equal Opportunities” with the support of the UNDP and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland project “Towards Sustainable Access to Justice for Legal Empowerment in the Kyrgyz Republic”.
“I was particularly interested in the video record devoted to the Constitution. We are interested in any local materials provided with sign language interpretation,” – Talgat Kashkaraliev, a person with hearing disability, says.
Higher education is still a dream
Chynara Abdraimova, a person with hearing disability, shared her impressions of watching films: “Video records, films and news with sign language interpretation have not been created for a long time in Kyrgyzstan. I enjoyed watching all these educational videos. It was very convenient to watch the video with sign language interpretation, subtitles, and voice-over. I think that everyone should know and use their rights”. Chynara finished school for the children with hearing disability. After school, she entered a lyceum to become a seamstress; however it was very difficult for her to find a job thereafter due to her hearing disability. In school, she dreamed of getting a higher education. However, she was able to realize her potential despite all difficulties and barriers she faced in her life. Currently, Chynara is raising three children.
According to Talgat Kashgaraliev, the persons with hearing disability are primarily deprived of higher education in our country, as they finish only 9 classes, and often do unskilled labor in the service sectors.
Currently, the persons with hearing disability in Kyrgyzstan apply and study in the Russian sign language and receive secondary education in the specialized schools. However, a person with hearing disability in Kyrgyzstan will not be able to get a higher education in almost any university due to the lack of a sign language interpreter. Nowadays, there are only few qualified sign language interpreters in the country.
Sign language interpreter status has been defined
“A sign language interpreter is a bridge between the persons with hearing disability and the society.” I am glad to have the opportunity to participate in the creation of this film. I like my profession. However, the sign language interpreters are unfortunately underpaid. The Government does not allocate funds for the sign language interpreters, and the persons with hearing disability have to hire such interpreters and pay from their own pockets. Not everyone has the opportunity to pay for such services. Finally, they have to do without a sign language interpreter or stay at home,” one of the few qualified sign language interpreters, Zhumakadyr kyzy Nurziya, says.
The Law of the Kyrgyz Republic “On the rights and guarantees of persons with disabilities” was adopted in June 2017 with the assistance of the UNDP and the MFA of Finland project “Widening Access to Justice in the Kyrgyz Republic” to ensure the rights and guarantees of the persons with disabilities. The law entered into force in early 2018 and is relevant because it is focused on integrating the persons with disabilities into the society, ensuring their elementary rights that will allow them to put their signatures in the documents independently or use the services of education, health care, and other communications.
According to the initiator of this law, Dastan Bekeshev, a deputy of the Kyrgyz Republic Parliament, the Law defines the status of a sign language interpreter, as well as defines the rules that force the Government to provide sign language interpretation in the educational and healthcare institutions, in the course of the judicial trials, etc. The Government is currently working on developing the procedure for providing services of sign language interpretation and payment for the services of the sign language interpreters. Moreover, the Government is obliged to annually train the sign language interpreters, teachers for the children with hearing and vision disabilities, special-needs expert and speech therapists. The law also gives the right to independently sign with a facsimile signature. From now on, the persons with disabilities can sign the financial, banking, notarial and all other documents in non-exclusive terms.
Meri Bekeshova, UNDP Communication Specialist
Books in Braille script
“ABC of Rights”
Educational video films called “ABC of Rights” were created for the people with vision and hearing disabilities in Kyrgyzstan. The series of video films with explanations in sign-interpretation covers such topics as the Constitution, the state, judicial system, international acts, marriage issues, benefits, pensions, alimony, inheritance, and entrepreneurial activities.
Sign language interpreters in Kyrgyzstan
A sign language interpreter is a bridge between the persons with hearing disability and the society.