YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–According to UN-provided data–10 percent of the world population are disabled persons. The living standards of 60 percent of them–even if they reside in the most prosperous countries–are lower than the poverty level–Chairman of the Pyunik (Phoenix) Union of Disabled Persons Hakob Abramian told a news conference September 13–pointing out that 118,000 disabled persons are currently residing in Armenia–8,000 of them being children.
He reported that the Pyunik Union developed and is implementing a program aimed at raising the public consciousness by means of propagation thereby assisting disabled persons in becoming integrated into society. In four months the program will be implemented–meetings with the representatives of the structures of the Parliament and the Ministry of Social Welfare in charge of disabled persons’ problems will be organized–roundtables and seminars attended by journalists will be held–booklets containing information on the disabled will be published–and films about disabled persons will be shown on the "AR" and "A1+" TV channels. Working groups in charge of the program implementation will be formed in Yerevan–Giumri–Spitak and Vanadzor.
Attending the news conference were also the sailing team of the Pyunik Union. On September 12 they returned from Spain–where they participated in a world championship–placed 11th and received the right to participate in the Paraolympic Games in Sydney in 2000.
The news conference was held at a building that was transferred to the Pyunik Union in 1997 by the government’s decision. According to Abramian–the building will be provided with equipment for professional training and sport-rehabilitation centers. A silk screen printer was installed–which will create five jobs. The device was purchased under another program implemented by the Pyunik Union.