Ukraine

UNICEF together with children and Olena Zelenska assessed accessibility of the Boryspil airport

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On the occasion of the Child Protection Day, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) together with the First Lady Olena Zelenska invited children and their parents to make an assessment of accessibility of the Boryspil airport and to share their vision of accessible airports. Families who promote the rights of children with disabilities joined the First Lady Olena Zelenska and the Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov at the event.

“Boryspil” International Airport is the main gate of the country. That’s why it should become an example of barrier-free public space. I want us to have a unified state standard of barrier-free approach to the airports, railway and bus stations”, said Olena Zelenska.

This is the first one in a series of UNICEF supported events aimed at engaging children and youth into creating barrier-free public spaces in Ukraine.

"Creating a barrier-free environment helps to create equal opportunities for all children. This is the right enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. And it's not just about overcoming physical barriers. Real accessibility must be built on the principles of universal design when everyone feels included into public life. It should also be supported with changes in attitudes and behaviors and introduction of a more child-friendly environment in public spaces. We hope that the barrier-free airport is the first step towards creation of barrier-free public spaces in Ukraine, including infrastructure facilities - subways, railway and bus stations, and checkpoints,” said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.

During the assessment, children and parents identified obstacles on a passenger's pathway and changes that are needed for a comfortable stay of parents with children. Recommendations included the following:

  • improve communication about existing opportunities for families with children, people with disabilities in the airport, including information on the website and signs on the airport territory;
  • improve navigation on the passenger’s route, develop step by step instruction for passing through check-points;
  • give priority to certain categories, including parents with children and people with disabilities, in queues and inform them about their priority right;
  • address the needs of people with different types of disabilities, including alternative communication with people with disabilities;
  • equip a breastfeeding room and feeding room for children under six.

Based on the assessment, the Ministry of Infrastructure will make a list of recommendations which will be disseminated among the Ukrainian airports.

"High quality infrastructure is impossible without meeting the basic needs of our users. Boryspil Airport, as the main airport of the country, has become a pilot project for creating a barrier-free, comfortable environment for everyone. In the future, we plan to extend these principles to other infrastructure facilities, including those that are part of the "Great Construction," said Alexander Kubrakov, Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine.

The task of creating barrier-free environments is outlined in the National Barrier-Free Strategy adopted in April 2021, at Olena Zelenska’s initiative. Its implementation requires broad engagement of people with disabilities and their families. To take into account voices of children and youth, UNICEF is also planning an opinion poll to get views of parents with children, to better understand their needs.

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.ua

Media Inquires : Nina Sorokopud, UNICEF Ukraine, +38067505 0056, nsorokopud@unicef.org