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Inclusion as an important social responsibility

Enabling self-determination and participation for people with disabilities is part of the fundamental understanding of democracy in Germany.
© Getty Images/Photodisc

The Federal Government seeks to create equal opportunities for people with disabil­ities. It is working towards an inclusive society in which everyone can participate equally: at school, at work, in leisure time. This ­requires comprehensive accessibility – and the aim is to remove not only obstacles in buildings, on streets and paths, but also social hurdles, such as access to the labour market.

National action plan

In 2007 Germany was one of the first states to sign the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with a national action plan (NAP 2.0) structuring its implementation that involves 175 different measures in 13 action areas. Among other things, it envisages intensive preparation measures for working life for severely disabled youths. Going beyond the action plan, a federal participation law was enacted in 2017, which includes provisions for promoting education for young disabled people.

An interim report on the national action plan produced in 2018 shows that Germany is on track to achieve its goals in this area and is working consistently on its implementation. In ever more areas of life, it shows, the disabled are being given greater consideration. According to the report, the country has also been successful in raising awareness of the needs of disabled people amongst social-sector and state actors.

Intensive dialogue between the generations

The elderly constitute a further group whose needs and potential the Federal Government particularly has in mind. More than every fifth person in Germany is aged 65 years or older. Their wealth of experience is con­sidered beneficial to society. Their ways of life have likewise diversified and changed; overall elderly people are considerably more active today than in the past. They are frequently also still integrated in the labour market. As meeting places, 540 multigenerational houses promote an intensive dialogue between old and young, bringing together people of different ages.