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Education and Employment

Citi Foundation launches program to empower persons with disabilities in Central Europe

women outside with a women in wheelchair
Photo: Shutterstock

Citi Foundation today announced the launch of the new community program “Strengthening the Disability Movement in CE” to be implemented across five countries in Central Europe: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, starting in 2022.

The program will be rolled out in partnership with the European Disability Forum (EDF), a strong umbrella non-profit organization, led by persons with disabilities and their families, defending the interests of over 100 million persons with disabilities in Europe.

The program will support the capacity building of Disabled People’s Organizations across Central Europe in the areas of developing communication channels with disabled individuals, ensuring accessibility to EU-level international policies and programs, as well as youth leadership and opportunities. Five local Disabled People Organizations in the above-mentioned countries and 150 people will be directly supported through the program and will benefit from a better awareness on their rights and opportunities, on the options to access EU funding and programs – especially for disabled youth – as well as networking events. Citi Foundation has donated $250,000, equally benefitting the countries, to support the goals of the program in 2022.

In Hungary, the program will support the Hungarian National Council of Associations of People with Disabilities build their capacity to serve people with disabilities in the country by upgrading their communication systems, providing technical assistance in the assessment of national laws and policies, trainings on EU funding and advocacy, as well as youth engagement opportunities.

“People with disabilities are an underserved segment of the population in Central Europe. An unacceptable percentage of them live in precarious conditions at the margin of society. It is critical to focus on improving the inclusion of people with disabilities. At Citi, we are committed to providing support for better access, appropriation of rights and empowerment. It is an ambitious program that aims to tackle an important social challenge and I am very proud that Citi Foundation is embarking on this journey in Central Europe”, said Munir Nanji, Central Europe Cluster Head at Citi.

Veronika Spanarova, Citi’s Managing Director, Country Head for Hungary added: “I am honored to be working at an organization that puts equal opportunities at the forefront of its core values and also acts on it in a very diligent manner. At Citi Hungary our Disability Network, initiated and led by employees on a voluntary basis, is working to provide thought leadership, advocacy, community access and resources that ensure Citi is an employer of choice for people with disabilities. Their efforts have been recognised, as we have been awarded the Disability-friendly Workplace Recognition for the third time in 2021. We look forward to supporting the Hungarian National Council of Associations of People with Disabilities, and contribute to their activities with this donation as well as with the volunteer work of my colleagues.”

“Building the strength of the Disability Movement in Europe and reaching young people with disabilities is one of EDF’s main priorities. Young people have been particularly hit by the pandemic. EDF is committed to working with our members to ensure all people with disabilities know their rights and can claim them. Europe will be stronger and more inclusive when we can all participate. We appreciate the strong commitment made by Citi Foundation to support our work”, said Yannis Vardakastanis, EDF President.