Corporate Partnership Program Launched for European Year of Disabled People
Submitted by Laurel Richards, ILRU (email@example.com)
ATHENS--On January 26, 2003, in a multi-national event in Athens, the European Commission in collaboration with the European Disability Forum proclaimed 2003 as "European Year of People with Disabilities."
In a move to improve the social and economic participation of Europe's 37 million people with disabilities, 11 leading international companies joined forces in an informal network called the "Corporate Partnership Program."
"What we have here is the potential to make a meaningful impact on the development of the disability issues in Europe. Having 11 major companies on board in the European Year campaign is a genuine boost to the work of the disability movement in Europe. We consider this as a major step in removing the social and economic barriers that prevents full participation of people with disabilities in the society today," said Yannis Vardakastanis, president of the European Disability Forum.
Among the Corporate Partnership Program are such companies as Accor, Adecco, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Manpower, McDonald's, Microsoft, Schindler, Sony, International Association of Public Transport, Volkswagen as well as the European Disability Forum.
These companies have announced their plans to use 2003 to pursue long-term initiatives on the different themes of the European Year, including raising awareness internally and externally about disability issues, promoting employment and training of workers with disabilities, and providing products and services accessible to customers with disabilities, including design-for-all products and assistive technologies.
The Corporate Partners, working to improve the economic potential, mobility, and employability of disabled people in Europe, will provide a model for how strategies for inclusiveness undertaken by business stakeholders may lead to real integration of disabled people in society.
For more information on activities planned for the European Year of People with Disabilities, contact: Helena González-Sancho, EDF Communication Officer: