Within six months of collaboration with the Open Society Foundation Armenia in the scope of the project “Being vocal in silence” Mariam Kurshudyan, the President of the “For Fem/ 4Fem” Women’s Human Rights Defender NGO, has conducted a Participatory Action Research with women with listening and speaking disabilities, did a need assessment of these women and created a platform for their access to SOS 911. The problems of people with listening and speaking disability are various, as they are exposed to all forms of multiple discrimination. During the meetings with women with listening disability their the most urgent need has come out to be the existence of the 911 SOS service, which will help them in any case. Gohar Melikyan, a gesture language translator, ensured the connection with women throughout the whole program. Mariam, Gohar and several women with listening and speaking disability have been actively looking for ways to cooperate with RA state bodies to solve the problem as soon as possible. As a result of cooperation with the Crisis Center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, “For Fem/4Fem” Women’s Human Rights Defender NGO conducted a training with people with hearing and speaking disabilities on 911 SOS telephone application on December 15, 2018. So they will have access to that service, their geographical location will be visible, they will be able to write through the message, and will be assisted by their already registered data as well as they will receive notifications from 911 service in case of disasters.
It can be found on Play Market via the name 911 SOS Армения. You can download it for free and register as it is for everyone. If you can not localize it on your phone, you can contact 911 SOS office at Aharonian 2, 5-th floor. On the spot they will help you download this app to your phone,you just have to use the Internet to use the SOS button.
Several meetings were held during the process. Mariam Kurshudyan and women with hearing problems met with the Minister of Emergency Situations of RA, Head of the Crisis Center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Mr. Khangeldyan, SOS system chief Vahagn Tsaturyan and their computer specialists. In the course of the meeting, the question of the more flexible use of 911 SOS service has been discussed through visual images for people with hearing problems. The question of availability of 911 SOS service on the 4-th generation smartphones was also discussed.
On February 5, 2019, the final meeting was held between stakeholders. Mariam Kurshudyan, President of “For Fem” Women’s Rights Protection NGO, Head of the Crisis Center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Mr. Hovhannes Khangeldyan, Head of Sossystems Organization Mr. Vahagn Tsaturyan and UNDP Representative Mr. Armen Chilingaryan participated in the meeting. During the meeting, the question of ease of access to persons with hearing and speech problems was discussed. As a result of long-term cooperation, the parties came to an agreement and very soon the 911 SOS online application will be completely inclusive, containing visual images of AMBULANCE, POLICE, GAS, FIRE SERVICE AND HOUSEHOLD SERVICES.It will help to the people with listening disability to report their problem and connect to the service providers, and as a result, they will be provided with an equal service as per case and necessity.
Thank you to Open Society Foundations Armenia, the organizer and idea author Mariam Kurshudyan, all the participants, gesture language Translator Gohar Melikyan, the Emergency Situations Crisis Center, Sos Systems Company, and the Article 3 Club for providing the training hall.