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.
Blind and partially sighted children should be heard in the organisations representing them and in society at large as future active citizens that contribute to an inclusive society. EBU also wishes to strengthen the position of youth with visual impairments both as a part of the community of the visually impaired, and as a part of the general public.
As deafblindness is a specific disability, the European Deafblind Union (EDBU) is the qualified organization representing their unique needs. EBU is supportive of endeavours by deafblind persons and their representative organisations at the national and European level to ensure that
deafblindness is recognized as a unique disability (and not the mere addition of visual and hearing impairments);
their specific needs are addressed adequately.
The International Conference on Deafblindness 21-24 May 2013, Plovdiv, Bulgaria included the first EBU Deafblind Women's Forum, held on May 21, whose title was: "Deafblindness: we, the women - Being a recognized deafblind woman with equal rights in modern society”.
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
The standard model of elections practiced today – marking a favourite candidate or party on a paper ballot – excludes most of the 30 million European citizens with visual impairments from this core political right. In its AVA Project (“Accessible Voting Awareness-Raising”), EBU compiles good practices on accessible voting and formulates recommendations for policy makers and elections officials on how to increase the accessibility of elections. The overall objective of the AVA Project is that blind and partially sighted citizens across Europe can vote secretly and independently in full equality with everyone else.