The Tallinn University Podcast with Terry McDonald seeks to shed light on the research and activism taking place in Estonia; in this episode, we talk to Meelis Joost, the chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Disabled People, about the evolution of the rights of people with disabilities over the years and the current state of disability accommodation and inclusivity.
This season, the podcast is presented in conjunction with Estonian World.
Stereotyping, stigmatisation and discrimination are some of the challenges that individuals with disabilities face every day. People with disabilities are commonly denied their rights to live independently in society.
Historically, throughout the former Soviet bloc, people with physical and mental disabilities were stigmatised, hidden from the public and thus made seemingly invisible. This legacy needs to be grappled with, as individuals with disabilities account for nearly 11 per cent of the total population in Estonia.
“Everybody should be able to live their lives independently, and society should help them execute those rights. This is an expensive process, but costs will decrease as more accessibility lowers the cost of everyday life for everybody,” Meelis Joost said.
Terry McDonald also speaks to Paul-Markus Orav, a master’s student of Open Society Technologies at Tallinn University, about the disability awareness events that took place in November 2022 and their impact on the disability community in Estonia. “If someone is abled, they don’t have reason to take the perspective of a disabled person. Because of this, many things that they don’t see as obstacles are overlooked,” Orav said.