Zero Project Conference

Sabancı Foundation is actively participating in the Zero Project Conference initiated by Essl Foundation based in Austria, every year since 2013.

The Conference which has been held since 2011, brings together innovative solutions and policies in the field of disability from different countries. The name of the conference whose main objective is to the creation of a world where all barriers are eliminated for the disabled, comes from the goal of ‘zero barrier’.

The Zero Project specifies innovative practices and policies each year based on four themes in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: independent living and political participation, education, employment and accessibility. Since 2020, information and communication technologies have been considered as the common additional theme of each year. This method makes it possible to observe the changes and developments in that area by reconsidering the same topic every four years.

In cooperation with Ashoka Vienna, the Impact Transfer Program was also included in the Conference in 2018. The aim of the program is to develop innovative applications that have participated in the Zero Project Conference and become a model with the support of training and mentors and to spread them to different countries.

Sabancı Foundation supports the representation of successful models of disability rights in Turkey at the Conference, and the dissemination of successful models from abroad in Turkey. The Foundation also contributes to the Impact Transfer Program as a partner and evaluates the examples selected for the Impact Transfer Program every year and carries out dissemination studies by bringing them together with civil society organizations in Turkey.

Within this scope, the bilingual story book application, VL2 Storybook App, developed by Gallaudet University for children with hearing impairment, started to be implemented in Turkey in 2018 with a project carried out with the Association of People with Hearing Impairment of Turkey.

As a result of Sabancı Foundation's long-term contributions to the Zero Project Conference, Sabancı Foundation General Manager Nevgül Bilsel Safkan was awarded the title of Zero Project Ambassador for four years by Essl Foundation in 2021.

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