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Montenegrin citizens, 72% of them, think that persons with disabilities (PWD) do not have equal chances for employment as others, while more than half of respondents said that PWD are equally productive at the workplace as persons without disabilities.
That was announced today at the press conference regarding the presentation of a research on the position of PWD, conducted by the Centre for Monitoring and Research (CeMI) on a representative sample of 931 citizens of age in Montenegro, from the 4th of February to the 9th of April of this year, by using the CATI method.
Executive Director of CeMI, Nikoleta Djukanovic, said that more than third of respondents i.e. 71% said that they know a person with a disability, while, as she stated, 27% said that in their household (themselves included) there is a person with a disability.
“By the respondents’ evaluation, on the question what per cent of Montenegrin population makeup persons with disabilities, the most frequent answer was from 0-5% (26,9% of respondents). Even though a precise national register of persons with disabilities does not exist, we assume that there is a significant tendency to underestimate that number, besides the fact that the vast majority know a person with a disability”, said Djukanovic.
She said that on the question to what degree people felt comfortable if they find themselves next to a person with disability, 34,1% of respondents said that people have the need to help them, while 26,9% said, as she stated, that they do not know how to act in the presence of a person with disability.
“Visibility, but also awareness about the relationship of the general population with PWD, which needs to be based on non-discrimination and respect, therefore needs to be raised”, pointed out Djukanovic.
According to her words, most respondents, 51,3% think that the educational system is not adjusted for PWD, stating that 72% of respondents believe that PWD do not have equal chances for employment as other persons.
“More than one-third of respondents, 36,7% evaluates that the state’s efforts to improve conditions for persons with disabilities do not give good results, 45,3% that they give partial results, while just 14,4% that they give good results”, said Djukanovic.
As she stated, the compensation for other’s care and help in Montenegro, which is currently 66 euros, with discounts that PWD have for their electric bills, water and transportation is, according to 89,2% of respondents unacceptably low.
“This data needs to be looked at together with the fact that a number of public support services that lead to full integration are missing in our society, that PWD have a harder time of getting jobs and that they are at an increased risk of poverty and social exclusion”, stated Djukanovic.
She said that on the question if they would hire a person with a disability if they were an employer, 81,7% of respondents answered that they would hire a person with a disability, while 13,5% stated that it depends on the type of disability.
“The majority, 56% of respondents, stated that PWD are equally as productive at the workplace as persons without disabilities. More than half of respondents, 54,9% are not familiar with the fact that PWD’s salary is co-financed from a special Fund and that the employer who hires them has the right to other benefits and subsidies”, stated Djukanovic.
She said that almost half of the respondents, 43,7% of them think that the law does not encourage employers to hire PWD, while half of that number, every fourth respondent (21,5%) believes that the law still encourages employing PWD.
“82,3% of respondents stated that they would be ready to volunteer in an organization for the support of persons with disabilities”, said Djukanovic.
Project Assistant at CeMI, Aleksandra Nikcevic, said that respondents answered the question “would you be a close friend of PWD, would you feel comfortable if a PWD was your neighbour, your colleague at work or a citizen of your country”, that it would not be a problem for them.
“If they would like for PWD to not live in their country, 81,7% per cent negated it. This data shows that respondents accept PWD and do not have a problem in their presence”, stated Nikcevic.
She said that more than half of the respondents stated that the educational system is not adjusted for PWD.
“When we researched the representation of architectural barriers for PWD, if they existed, we researched if they exist on the street, traffic, state institutions, shops, restaurants, education, judiciary, local institutions, we saw that the smallest per cent of physical barriers exists in health care. It is noticeable that there is a great representation of physical barriers for PWD, mostly in traffic and on the street”, said Nikcevic.
She clarified that when they compared this research to the research on the position of PWD of the Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro from 2015, CeMI’s research shows a slight increase in the presence of physical barriers compared to 2015.
“On the question which institutions should play the most important role in the protection of rights of PWD, state and state institutions were represented the most in both pieces of research, 31,5% in CeMI’s research, 26,7% in the research of AYDM. On the second place, it was society as a whole and the Institue of Social Protection”, said Nikcevic.
Answering journalists’ question about how they commented on the data on the increase of the physical barriers in 2015, Nikcevic said that it is possible that awareness of citizens is increased compared with 2015, given the fact that it was talked more about the position of PWD and that there are more projects that point to the problems of PWD and that citizens are more aware of the existence of those barriers.
“Other projects and research contributed to the existence of barriers, which persons without disabilities did not notice before”, said Nikcevic.
The press conference was held within the project “Job without a barrier – a chance for people with visual impairment”, financed by the Employment Agency of Montenegro.