The well-known Jedlicka Institute and the School for the Disabled in Prague celebrated its 90th anniversary this week. Established in April 1913, the institute and school, named after professor Rudolf Jedlicka, is dedicated to making the lives of the disabled as pleasant as possible and integrating them into the Czech society. Jan Picman is the institute's director:
"I think the time has come for us to stop catching up but to look ahead. We have the technology and the methods to go beyond the limited level of integration we have achieved so far. Today, people with disabilities can live comfortably among the rest of society without being isolated in special homes, but we have to go a step further and teach society to be able to live with the disabled. In the light of our anniversary, and this year being the European Year of People with Disabilities, we have decided to prepare a number of TV spots to approach the public and bring it closer to the disabled, an initiative that unfortunately has not yet been taken."
The spots are expected to be broadcast on all Czech television stations from April until the end of the year and will carry the slogan "pojdte s nami k vam", which roughly translates as " help us join you". Besides the TV spots, an exhibition is also underway at Prague's Old Town Hall describing the history of the school and institute, and giving examples of special clothing and technology used to facilitate the day-to-day lives of the disabled. For the past ten years, Prague City Hall has actively supported the institute and its school. Prague Mayor Pavel Bem officially opened the exhibition at a ceremony on Wednesday:
"We certainly wish to continuously support Jedlicka Institute by providing them with the necessary funds. This amount is close to 50 million Czech crowns, so it is quite significant support. Besides that, we are also investing in the construction of schools and the whole institute and the total amount of money invested in the last ten years exceeded 180 million Czech crowns."
There are currently some 4,400 disabled children attending schools in the Czech Republic. However, only some 70 schools have special equipment to effectively integrate the disabled students. At its 90th anniversary, the Jedlicka Institute invited representatives of towns and cities from all over the country to Prague, hoping to inspire them to take the necessary steps to improve the living conditions and education opportunities for the disabled around the country.