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Updated no 3 - 2019

News from Funka
Seminar during Funka Accessibility Days 2018. Photo

Funka Accessibility Days - the program is ready!

This year's program has a number of fantastic speakers, including Jamie Knight, Ian Pouncey, Kathy Wahlbin, Inmaculada Placencia Porrero, Eric Eggert, Jack Nicolai, Gudrun Stock, Ian Hamilton, Zoë Bijl, Neil Milliken, Peter Sunna and many more. Register now for this year's most important conference in Stockholm 9-10 April.

People in a library using computers. Photo

The library service answers - just about anything!

In Sweden, there is a digital service where you can ask any question and get answers from wise public librarians. Funka’s Karin Forsell has trained with a group of people that seems to have one of the world's most fun jobs.

A person in a wheelchair and a blind person with a guide dog. Photo

New Funka report on disability rights in Sweden

In a new report, Funka looks at how public sector bodies in southern Sweden can enhance the rights of persons with disabilities. How well do strategic approaches to disability policy work in practice?

A judge hammer lying on a laptop. Photo

Lovdata chooses Funka

Funka will provide ongoing support with regards to accessibility when the Norwegian foundation Lovdata publishes material about assistive technology and grants for people with disabilities.

A nurse and an elderly patient. Photo

Long-term care users contribute to the development of new services

Funka delivers accessibility expertise to an EU-funded research and innovation project that develops a system for co-creation among individuals, healthcare professionals, researchers and innovators. The goal is that different stakeholders together will develop new solutions for long-term care.

A bay with houses by Lofoten in Norway. Photo

The Norwegian Environmental Authority chooses Funka

Funka has conducted an audit of accessibility on the new website for the Norwegian Environmental Authority.

A person pays with a debit card. Photo

A society without cash – can we handle that?

Funka’s Emil Gejrot adds some perspective to the debate around the “cashless society”, which many believe we’re about to enter.

Three questions
Peter Svahlstedt. Foto

Three questions to Peter Svahlstedt, cash manager in the Swedish Foundation ”Blindas Väl” (for the benefit of the blind)

You distribute grants for people with visual impairments to receive or retain work. How can it be that this is needed in Sweden in 2019?

It is still needed, for several reasons. Visually impaired people are not empoyed to the same extent as persons without visual impairment. This certainly depends on many things, one of which has to do with attitudes. Employers often think that they are going to "help someone" if they bring in a person who has bad eyesight. But that's totally wrong. They should seek the right skills and broaden the group from which they choose candidates to also include visually impaired. This over-caring attitude is also found in municipalities, county councils, assistive technology centers and many other insitutions. The support functions risk becoming part of the problem. Society thinks that we make an effort when we pay subsidies, but that is the wrong starting point. It's about matching the right person to the right work. Therefore, at our foundation, we try to encourage people to help themselves instead.

Can you mention some types of activities you have supported lately?

We provide support for many different things, often to small business owners who need different types of equipment, such as a computer, a massage table, sales material or perhaps studies. For children and young people, we frequently support education and further personal development. A visually impaired person may find it more difficult to obtain summer jobs during his or her studies, for example. We also know that it’s important to train social skills, so we can support learning how to swim or an introduction to start playing chess. The motivation it gives to socialise in different groups and contexts can make it easier to get into mainstream working life. We have received several testimonies on how this type of activities can really affect the individual.

What would you say is the biggest challenge for people with visual impairment to have an equal chance in the labor market, equivalent to full-sighted?

It’s probably a combination of many things, and also differs depending on the individual. The digital environment that exists in almost all professions these days can be a great help for the visually impaired, but often everything from recruitment tools to internal systems is completely inaccessible, which makes it difficult or impossible for the visually impaired to obtain and maintain work on the regular labor market. Sometimes it’s that the person lacks adequate training. It’s almost a requirement that you continue to educate yourself nowadays, which can be more difficult for a person who doesn’t see well. Especially if the visual impairment worsens with age. Lack of social skills that I mentioned before can be a problem for some individuals. Today, we also have a large proportion of visually impaired people with a mother tongue other than Swedish, where language skills and communication skills are important. The combination can make it even more difficult to get a job.

Other news
A train station. Photo

Seven projects to boost accessibility on railways

A series of innovative, high-tech augmented reality project to support people who use sign language on train journeys, will be developed after winning a British government-funded competition.

A blind man using voice search in his smartphone. Photo

Predictions for the future of voice assistants and AI

Conversational user interfaces and voice assistants are becoming more commonplace. Voice interfaces are advancing at an exponential rate in industries of all kinds, ranging from healthcare to banking.

The sensory room at Gatwick airport. Photo

Gatwick becomes first UK airport to open sensory room

The new, free-to-use sensory room provides a calming space for passengers with special needs to relax in before their flight.

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