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A disabled man. Wikimedia Commons
this story is part of the 4-8 Dec 2017 Weekly Hindsight Read the hindsight

Hungary banishes disabled citizens to remote areas

Ivett Korösi recommended by Ivett Korösi Nepszava, Hungary

Far away from the sight of people, preferably in remote villages -- that is the appropriate place for disabled citizens according to their government. The controversial move is being financed with EU funds.

Hungary Covfefe

Why this story matters:

health, politics

Some of the large, municipal institutions that provide special care will be replaced by group homes in tiny villages. To top it all, the controversial move is being financed with EU funds.

Fidesz plans to build these institutions, designed for 10-12 people, in regions where local governments offer free land for the projects. The problem is that the local authorities are only willing to give away the least valuable land, situated in remote areas, far away from the town centers.

One of the projects is a group home for children with physical disabilities, which will be build in an old factory. Another plan is to establish a social institution in a village with 500 inhabitants, with the closest city one hour away by bus.

The European Union donated billions of forints to the project, with the aim of facilitating the integration of the disabled.

“I have no idea how they could be integrated into society if they are banished to remote countryside,” an expert told Nepszava.

It is true that disabled people will be more comfortable in smaller facilities but housing is not everything. If we want them to be more independent and have better quality care, we need more professionals rather than more group homes, Balazs Kremer, the president of the Social Professional Organization told the Hungarian daily.

The news did not surprise the majority of readers on social media. “Zero humanity” wrote someone on Facebook.

“This government never consults anyone. [Its leaders] are convinced they are smarter than everyone and everything should be done the way they think is best. They only care about getting their hands on the EU funds. They have no sympathy for the sick, the disabled and the elderly,” commented another user.

Details from the story:

  • Several experts emphasized that, thanks to the support of the European Union, there has never been more funds available to develop the care sector.
  • They also claimed that the strategy of the government does not include what is needed the most -- increasing the number of professionals working with disabled people.
  • Balazs Kremer added that the government did not bother to hold comprehensive consultations on the program with professional organizations.
  • It remains a mystery how the government plans to finance the group homes once the EU funds dry up.

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