The EBU clear print guidelines are available in docx and pdf format (January 2017) currently only in English. The document offers basic principles with good practice examples for printed documents that you can easily apply. For fuller information on the accessiblity of information, see our Making Information Accessible For All page.
As for all children, it is vital for young blind and partially sighted youngsters to have access to and enjoy a good education. Inclusive education helps to build an inclusive society. Inclusive education teaches visually impaired and sighted children to learn and play together, making the concept of diversity and equality a practical and natural way of thinking for them.
EBU supports Inclusive education, provided that adequate support is guaranteed for blind and partially sighted students.
'Erasmus+ Mobility of Students with Disability'
In order to obtain a clear picture of the possibilities and barriers of exchange programs for university students with visual impairments (VI), the European Blind Union (EBU) and the International Council for Education and Rehabilitation of People with Visual Impairment, Europe (ICEVI-Europe) has set up a research group. The research group consists of a researcher from ELTE University Bárczi Faculty of Special Education, Budapest (Hungary), a specialist in visual impairment from ICEVI-Europe, a university disability coordinator from Comenius University in Bratislava (Slovakia) and a member of EBU. The research group has gathered information about the experience of students with VI and Erasmus+ coordinators, resulting in the following documents;
Recommendations for students with visual impairment participating in international exchange programmes
The aim of this brochure is to motivate blind and partially sighted students to participate in international mobility with the Erasmus+ program and to help them prepare for a successful academic experience and stay abroad. Information, recommendations, questions and messages are mainly drawn from the above-mentioned surveys and project materials. But other resources, recommendations and initiatives pursuing the same goal - promoting engagement, equal opportunities and implementing measures that will ensure the conditions for active participation are also used. Also available as a pdf document.
A report 'Erasmus+ Mobility of Students with Disability'
A State-of-the-art report on the accessibility of exchange programs for students with visual impairments jointly produced with ICEVI Europe which intends to obtain a clear picture of the possibilities and barriers of exchange programs for university students with visual impairments. Available in doc and pdf formats.
Pilot Survey report among Erasmus+ and Disability Coordinators,
The main objective of this report is to describe the situation in and access to mobility of students with visual impairment in different higher education institutions which accept Erasmus students with disabilities, in pdf and docx format.
Accessible Universities for Erasmus+ Students with Visual Impairment
This document reports on the outcomes of the activities of the common project in its 2nd phase. The activities were aimed at investigating the opinions, experiences and suggestions of Erasmus+ mobility participants, and employees of universities involved in arranging international mobility programmes for students with visual impairment, in pdf and docx format.
The 'Pedagogy and Language Learning for Blind and Partially Sighted Adults in Europe' project ran from 2008 to 2010 and aimed at Improving the accessibility of language learning for visually impaired (VI) persons. The final document 'Good practice for improving language learning for visually impaired adults' is now available in pdf format in Czech, English, French, Greek and Slovak.
Nearly 90% of all blind and partially sighted Europeans are over the age of 60, and two thirds are over the age of 65. Elderly people with sight loss may have additional health problems such as loss of hearing and reduced physical mobility.
They find it more difficult to learn new ways to adapt to their new condition and to cope with daily tasks. They are less likely to have access to adequate rehabilitation programmes or have the opportunity to register as disabled, because they feel it is ‘just part of growing old.' Agencies providing services to older people may have low awareness of sight problems. Consequently older people may be less aware of the support services available to them, and are at increased risk of isolation.
A Tale of Three Cities, a partnership project between the European Blind Union and the European Guide Dog Federation with additional collaborative support and assistance from Age Platform Europe. This looks at the experiences of a cross section of blind and partially sighted elderly people in three European cities, Tullamore in Ireland, Salzburg in Austria and Marseille in France. The resulting report, available in report.docx (1.35Mo) and report.pdf (595 ko) formats, uses specific criteria to examine the experiences of older people in adapting to poor vision whilst endeavouring to continue accessing the communities in which they live.
BIOVI report (pdf file) on two big projects took on in order to secure access to information for visually impaired people in Iceland, with special attention to the needs of senior citizens with visual impairments.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe 2012 Ministerial Conference in Ageing ‘Ensuring a Society for all Ages'. Alan Suttie (Co-ordinator, Elderly Network, since deceased) attended this meeting as an invited representative on behalf of European Blind Union (EBU) and with support from World Blind Union (WBU) who have United Nations (UN) consultative status. Download Ensuring a Society for all Ages report (.doc 25ko), and the Ministerial Declaration (pdf 381 ko)
Employment, rehabilitation and vocational training
Blind and partially sighted Europeans are undoubtedly among the most vulnerable and least visible members of society. For the most part they are at the bottom end of the earnings league.
Poverty and social exclusion are inextricably linked and are caused by a complex combination of factors. Poor education and housing, unemployment and inadequate social protection, inaccessible information, transport and the built environment, negative attitudes and prejudices in society are all factors that lead to exclusion.
Rehabilitation and vocational training are closely related to employment and a decent income. All blind and partially sighted people should have access to these services and EBU advocates minimum quality standards. EBU is currently working on a study, 'The situation of blind and partially sighted people regarding employment in Europe after 10 years of the UN CRPD : Challenges and opportunities' led by our Spanish member, ONCE.
The EBU manual for inexperienced job seekers with a visual impairment in .docx and pdf formats. This detailed manual includes an analysis of skill and competences, writing a c.v. and cover letter, going for interviews, and a section on body language and presentational skills. This document is also available in French, docx and pdf, Germandocx and pdf, Montenegrindocx and pdf, Polishdocx and pdf, and Spanishdocx and pdf.
Outdoor mobility presents difficulties for blind and partially sighted people. The design of vehicles as well as infrastructure such as stations and stops, many of the standards for which are set at European level, affect how easy or not it is for blind and partially sighted women, men and children to travel. The growing number of electric vehicle (EV) and electric-hybrid vehicles (EHV) is a fundamental concern to blind and partially sighted people. Due to the strong intervention of the European Blind Union, the European Union and the UNECE (United Nations economic Commission for Europe) have addressed the necessity for additional artificial sound generation for electric and electric hybrid vehicles, more on this in our campaigns section.
In 2019, EBU invited its member organisations to submit examples of best practices on the accessibility of mobility for visually impaired persons. These were compiled into a brochure.
The brochure is available (pdf files) inEnglish, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Turkish.
This present brochure documents best practices towards independent and safe mobility from across Europe. It is structured in three clusters, which reflect important and interlocking areas of accessible mobility: legislation and standards, built environment and infrastructure and lastly digital solutions. A short discussion section complements these chapters in order to contextualise some pertinent issues on the safety and independency of mobility for visually impaired persons.
The full document of the selected best practice, submitted by our Slovenian member, on Strategic Accessibility Planning, is available (pdf document).
The Roads That Lead To The Top: a video on blind and partially sighted women’s leadership, a short video portraying the stories of ten women who are blind or partially sighted and traces the paths they followed towards pursuing their dreams.
There is also a transcript of the video content, this is also available in French, German and Spanish (word files).
EBU fosters equal opportunities for both genders to full participation and aims at increasing the representation of women in decision making positions. This means raising awareness on the added value of diversity and on the right to equal opportunities, and also the empowerment of women to take their rightful place in society.
Leadership training and women´s forums organised by EBU gave women the opportunity to learn skills and to strengthen their network.
The new toolkit 'The Future We Want' (pdf English, pdf Spanish) aims to raise awareness regarding the importance of including gender in the decision-making process and in all other areas so as to enable change in policies, strategies and activities within an organisation.
The EBU information package 'The Right to Live without Violence' for blind and partially sighted females.
On 13 June 2012 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted Recommendation CM/Rec (2012)6 on protecting and promoting the rights of women and girls with disabilities, which was prepared by CAHPAH-WGD working group of experts last year in Strasbourg. You can download the recommendations (word) in English and Français.
Now available to download, accessible pdf files of the Guide to Mainstreaming Gender in Public Disability Policies, in English and Spanish
Our Austrian member reports that local branches offer various assistance for members, for example going shopping for them, explaining how they can be as safe as possible, offering online meetings instead of face-to-face meetings, etc. On a national level, their disability council sent out two letters to the government, asking for financial support for disability organisations in addition to the financial support that businesses are receiving, and to make sure that all technical services offered during the crisis will be accessible. And of course they report on theirhomepage and in newsletters on the current situation.
The German Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted has set-up a corona guidebook page on its homepage with relevant information in these time, for instance regarding:
- the opening times of Ophthalmologists and provided care,
- safe wearing of contact lenses and COVID-19,
- an interview with a prominent German virologists giving advice for people with visual impairments,
- other reliable sources of information on the health issues concerning corona,
- Information for professionals on their rights when working from home,
- our service ‘focus on the eye’: advice currently only available by telephone or online
All this information and more, in German, is available at: https://www.dbsv.org/corona.html
Regarding campaigning to convince our national authorities and decision-makers to provide the accessibility of public health information they are working with the national umbrella organization German Disability Council and sending letters to relevant government bodies, for instance to the German chancellor’s spokesperson. They demanded accessible formats of health information. The government printed information on COVID-19 in braille. Here you can find their statement: https://www.deutscher-behindertenrat.de/ID248838
They have alsostarted a campaign on the occasion of International Children's Book Day on 2 April 2020: “Without books in quarantine - DBSV starts fundraising campaign for more children's tacticle books”. So also using this occasion to raise awareness regarding the lack of tactile children’s books which are very costly and time intensive in production. Here you can find the statement: https://www.dbsv.org/pressemitteilung/blinde-kinder-ohne-bücher-in-der-quarantäne.html
The local branches provide information also in German) on:
Our member from the Netherlands states that
1. until now no particular advice and warnings were given by the government related to the problems of blind and visually impaired people because of this corona crisis.
2. There will be a specific meeting with our government (ministry of health services) to discuss the problems and needs of all disabled people in the Netherlands, with as a hopeful outcome what can be done to solve their problems and also to make our society aware that for some of us it is difficult to meet the measures taken As an example (in particular for visually impaired people): to keep a social distance of 1,5m from each other.
3. As part of a coordinated action of The Eye Association, VISIO en Bartimeus, the eye association itself has sent a short list of tips to their members. VISIO and Bartmeus, professional Dutch organizations for blind and visually impaired people (with advice as one of their tasks), have also sent some information to their clients. (It must be stressed that these messages are for a particular group of people and not a message to the whole society...).
The most important advice is:
A Try to walk and shop with a sighted guide.
If this is not possible and you walk alone:
B Use the white cane (blind people) and the recognition stick (visually impaired people) not as an option: it is a must! Obviously it will help the sighted people to recognize and to act accordingly. The recognition stick is shorter than the white cane so it is advisable to keep the stick in an angle before you.
C if you ask for assistance on the street, it is recommended to keep your distance for instance by using your cane or stick. Is is advisable to take plastic handgloves with you for the person who acts as guide.
D In the case of shopping it is advisable to inform the store staff of your problems beforehand, and ask them for a “helping hand”. Maybe it is possible to make a phone call in advance and ask the store staff to collect the items needed. It is not possible to use the normal (transport)infrastructure; using public transport apart for work is not recommended for all people, furthermore most special taxi’s for disabled people have stopped their services.
Most services like the ones of the already mentioned VISIO and Bartimeus are closed, which is also the case in hospitals etc. If there is an emergency case, hospitals are still open.