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Accessibility of Tbilisi Public Service Hall for blind and visually impaired persons

The number of blind and partially-sighted people in Georgia is estimated at 12,000-15,000, based on the statistics provided by the WHO for the world population. Exact data are not available, because neither the state institutions nor the non-governmental sector record such statistics and numerous disabled people are facing social exclusion, hence it is difficult to reach them. Moreover, there is no infrastructure allowing visually impaired people to use social services. There are no means of public transportation that would allow them to move safely on their own and public buildings are not technically adjusted to their needs.

The Tbilisi Public Service Hall is located in the centre of Tbilisi and has only one counter window where people come to change their civil status, register births and deaths or obtain identity documents. Each year, it is visited by thousands of residents, including at least 150 visually impaired people. It is estimated that more disabled people could use the services of the counter window and this number is expected to grow as the infrastructure and public transportation are being adjusted to their needs. In order to become fully functional, the office needs equipment that would enable them to move freely in the customer service office located on the ground floor, i.e. tactile maps and Braille plates as well as markings for partially-sighted people on the three administrative floors.

Accessibility of Tbilisi Public Service Hall for blind and visually impaired persons

The project is scheduled to be implemented from 1 July to 15 December 2016 in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Tbilisi and its local partner, the non-governmental organisation - Mariani. Its primary objective is to increase the accessibility of the Tbilisi Public Service Hall (TPSH) for blind and partially-sighted people by installing necessary tactile infrastructure adjusted to their needs. A plan for adjusting the building to the needs of blind and partially-sighted people will be prepared by experts appointed by the Mariani organisation as part of the project. Then, a project of a tactile path planned on the ground floor of the TPSH building will be prepared and the walls, windows and doors will be adjusted. A tactile path will be placed on the floor and anti-slip tapes will be placed on the floor and the stairs of the ground floor.

Blind and partially-sighted people visiting the facility will be the beneficiaries of the Tbilisi Public Service Hall, currently the number accounts for approximately 120-150 people a year. It is estimated that the number will grow after the TPSH building has been adjusted. Moreover, adjusting the administrative floor will make it possible for TPSH to employ blind and partially-sighted people. As a result of the project, 70% of the blind and partially-sighted people visiting TPSH should be able to use its services on their own and the technical infrastructure of the TPSH will meet 80% of the standards specified in the International Accessibility Guideline.

Accessibility of Tbilisi Public Service Hall for blind and visually impaired persons

The project was implemented from 1 August to 28 December 2016. Its objective was to increase the accessibility of the Tbilisi Public Service Hall building for blind and partially-sighted people.

A plan for adjusting the official building was prepared as part of the project, the modification of selected elements was planned, the necessary materials were purchased and the adaptation works were completed in the building. Tactile plates were placed on the floors, railings were mounted on the stairs and the ramp for the disabled, plates with room numbers in Braille and a tactile plate with the map of the building were hanged.

The equipment purchased and installed within the framework of the project will be used by blind and partially-sighted people visiting the building. This number is currently estimated at 120-150 people a year and is expected to grow. Adding high-contrast elements on the 1-3 floors will make it possible to employ a self-reliant blind person. Installing some of the elements, e.g. high-contrast anti-slip tapes, increased the safety and comfort of working and walking in the building for the entire personnel of the Office.

The project was co-financed by the Polish Aid grant amounting to PLN 121,064 (EUR 28,998) and its entire value amounted to PLN 135,467 (EUR 32,448). For the purposes of calculation, the following exchange rate was applied: EUR 1 = PLN 4.1749.