ONCE wants to create a better life for people with disabilities

ONCE wants to create a better life for people with disabilities. Spain has a lot of lotteries, including the world-famous ‘El Gordo’ in December. However, no lottery in this country is as special as ONCE. ONCE means ‘Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles, which can be translated as ‘The National Organization of Spanish blind people’. It is organized for partially sighted or blind people, so that they have a chance to win a lot of money as well. A very good thing about this lottery is that all profits go to charity.

The 80th birthday of ONCE

ONCE was established in 1938 and will celebrate its 80th birthday next year. In the past decades this lottery has helped thousands of blind and visually impaired people all over the world. This should definitely be celebrated! To make social and economic progress ONCE also organizes several projects and established important foundations in the past. For example, in 1988 the ‘ONCE Foundation for Cooperation and the Social Inclusion of the Disabled’ was created. It’s main goal was to reduce the social and labor market inclusion of disabled people. In the past 30 years the organization, also known as the ‘ONCE and it’s Foundation’, has made a lot of progress with this.

ONCE and the rest of the world

Some other initiatives were taken over there years as well. For example, this international organization established the ‘Foundation in Support of the Blind in Latin America’ in 1998. FOAL has been a success ever since. It also created the ONCE Foundation for the Care of the Deaf-Blind (FOAPS) in 2007. ONCE is a very active organization in Latin America. In total it develops training and employment projects in 19 Latin American countries. Impressive! ONCE can be found in European countries as well. It has links all over the world to place disabilities as high as possible on the political agenda. This is why ONCE works together with a lot of organizations that actively want to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Great achievements
Over the years, some great achievements were made. For example ONCE and its partners organized the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 in New York City. At the Convention discussions were held about the European regulations and employment policies for people with disabilities. The contact between ONCE and European institutions seems to work. Several members of the European Commission have visited ONCE and its Foundation. Some of them want to improve the European regulations regarding disabilities and see providing better circumstances for people with disabilities as their priority. For example, blind people should have the opportunity to work and make a contribution to society. Too often this doesn’t happen because employers don’t want them. ONCE and its Foundation uses a social inclusion model in Spain as their driving force to get the attention of the European Community.

Transformation of social structures in Europe
ONCE and its Foundation wants to transform social structures all over Europe. It uses a social and economic model that is known as the ‘Third Sector’. It seems more complicated than it is actually. The Third Sector is platform of nine million persons who have a risk to be excluded because of their handicap. The platform brings together foundations, civil associations and people with disabilities to make an end to social exclusion. Together these groups fight to protect and improve social rights in the Europe of the 21st century. ONCE continues to strive for greater social equality and hopes that discrimination against people with disabilities will diminish in the coming decades.