Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Spain blind association puts disabled to work  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 22/01/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!

(MENAFN -Arab News) MADRID: After completing high school, 46-year-old Spaniard Ricardo Velesar struggled to hold down a job as a degenerative eye disease slowly robbed him of his sight

His prospects changed dramatically, however, when he knocked on the door of Spain’s national association for the blind

The organization — known as ONCE by its Spanish acronym — put Velesar to work in 1990 selling tickets for its daily lottery and provided him with a seeing eye dog once he became completely blind

He has earned enough at the job to buy an apartment and support his wife, whom he met through ONCE and who is als blind, and their six-year-old daughter

“I am very grateful because thanks to the sale of the tickets I have been able to raise a family, I have a stable job that is very dignified,” Velesar said as he bantered with a steady stream of clients at his heated sales booth located by a metro exit in Madrid’s bustling Manuel Becerra square

“I have been able to have a very normal life. I don’t know what my life would be like without ONCE,” added Velesar, who has retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited degenerative eye disease

He is one of 20,000 lottery ticket sellers employed by ONCE across the country, all of them visually impaired or with some other disability

ONCE was founded 75 years ago with the goal of helping blind people work for a living and not become dependent on public support

It has since expanded its mandate to help people with any type of disability

Last year, ONCE won the Prince of Asturias Concord prize, regarded as Spain’s Nobel prize, the jury citing its “extraordinary” work, which “enhanced the dignity and quality of life of millions of disabled people in Spain.

Other international initiatives have followed ONCE’s example, the prize jury added

ONCE finances itself through the sale of tickets for its own lottery which has annual sales of about 1.9 billion euros (2.6 billion)

Half the money goes to prizes and the rest is spent on providing services ranging from employment to rehabilitation and specialized education

Among its companies is a news agency, an industrial laundry, a hotel chain and temp agency that supplies cleaners and security guards to offices

ONCE created 7,100 jobs for disabled people last year even as Spain’s jobless rate hit 26 percent as the country struggled with the fallout from the collapse of a decade-long property bubble in 2008

It employs just over 65,000 people in total

“I think we have taken a great weight off of the state administration. We have based our model on being active people, of living from our own efforts,” said ONCE president Miguel Carballeda who began his career at the organization as a lottery ticket seller

The strategy aims to leverage people’s abilities, “with the idea that we should be valued for what we have and not for what we lack,” he said

ONCE also provides training to help disabled people more employable

It translates textbooks into braille for those attending university and it operates a physiotherapy school for blind students, whose graduates are in high demand

Classes are smaller than at other physiotherapy schools in Spain to give students more hours of hands-on practice

A maximum of 24 students graduate from the school each year and all of them find work in their field after completing the four-year degree

Graduates are successful not because blind people have a better sense of touch as many people mistakenly believe, but because they receive a higher level of training than those at other schools, the director of the school, Javier Sainz de Murieta, said

“They either get extra training or else the whole world will prefer someone without a disability,” he said

Isabel Chacon, who will graduate from the school in May, said the school had given her a new sense of direction since she lost her vision six years ago due to complications from diabetes

“I am really happy. Its a great feeling helping patients,” the 33-year-old said.


Arab News

  MENA News Headlines
 Nov 26 2015 - Turkey- G20 Communiqu: 34The fight against terrorism is a major priority34The Journal Of Turkish Weekly
(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Following the two-day summit in Antalya Turkey G-20 leaders released a communiqué calling for greater coordination and information to counter terrorist ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Muslims on 39the front line39 against terror: NATOThe Journal Of Turkish Weekly
(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said it is Muslims who are on “the front line” in the fight against terrorism and extremism. ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Western Balkans 39key to fighting extremism39The Journal Of Turkish Weekly
(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) The western Balkans is “key” to stemming extremism and terrorism the president of the European Council said Wednesday. Speaking at a summit to ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Turkey- Syrian Turkmen facing 39critical39 period in battleThe Journal Of Turkish Weekly
(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Fighting between Syrian Turkmen forces and regime troops is “critical" the leader of the Turkmen opposition said Wednesday. Russian airpower is ...

 Nov 26 2015 - ISIS kills its Austrian 39poster girl39 after she attempts to flee SyriaThe Journal Of Turkish Weekly
(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) An Austrian teenager who fled to Raqqa Syria in order to join the Islamic fundamentalist terror organization Islamic State was beaten to death after ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Kuwait Spain discuss scientific cooperationKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT Nov 26 (KUNA) -- Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) and Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) discussed means of scientific cooperation and ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Kuwait- KNPC upgrades operations at Al Ahmadi refineryKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT Nov 26 (KUNA) -- Kuwait National Petroleum Corporation (KNPC) announced on Thursday upgrading its Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit at Al-Ahmadi Refinery so as ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Deputy FM: Kuwait interested in tightening airport security in coordination with BritainKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT Nov 26 (KUNA) -- Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said on Thursday Kuwaiti security authorities are keen to work with the British side for ...

 Nov 26 2015 - Al Tayer affirms DEWA's commitment to support UAE national identityEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) DUBAI 26th November 2015 (WAM) -- Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority DEWA has affirmed DEWA's commitment to ...

 Nov 26 2015 - UAE- YFEL Led Solar Energy Project with Masdar Collaboration Comes Online to Help Power Rashid Abdullah Omran HospitalEmirates News Agency (WAM)
(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM)) ABU DHABI 26th November 2015 (WAM)--Masdar has completed a 543 KWp photovoltaic (PV) solar power project that is to deliver renewable energy to the Rashid ...





Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices


Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks

Saudi Arabia 

Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor


Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters

© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help