Para-Wikimedians Community User Group

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Para-Wikimedians Community User Group is a global group that facilitates, informs, supports, and advocates for Wikimedians with special needs (Special Needs communities) to provide a more diverse and inclusive environment.

Why is there a need for a Special Needs affiliate?[edit]

Generally speaking, there are two main reasons behind the creation of this affiliate (currently a user group, aiming to become a thematic organization later on).

  • Within the Special Needs community (hereinafter referred to as SNC or SN community) there are a lot of people who can potentially become good Wikimedians. However, owing to their special needs, they may lack tools to efficiently access / edit / discuss the Wikimedia content (and thus join the existing Wikimedia community on equal terms with others).
  • Wikipedia articles / Wiktionary definitions / Wikinews items etc. often cover various topics related to Special Needs. Sometimes this is not in line with the way the Special Needs communities percieve the matter. Besides, some of the Wikimedia content (most notably, location descriptions in Wikivoyage) may lack the information on accessibility (which may be of vital importance for the SNC members, their families etc.)

Creation of a Special Needs affiliate will definitely have a positive impact on resolving the above issues.

What is meant by Special Needs?[edit]

Special Needs Community is an umbrella term denoting groups of people (current or potential Wikimedia contributors) having various special needs. This includes, inter alia:

  • Blind and visually impaired people
  • Deaf and hearing impaired people
  • People with limb disfunctions (e.g. those unable to use a keyboard for typing)
  • People with learning difficulties
  • People with autism

The above list is not exhaustive: people with other special needs (permanent or temporary) also form part of the community.

Having any kind of special needs is not required to join the user group and/or participate in its activities. Anyone who supports our mission is very welcome to do so. You're also not required to be an expert in disability/special needs matters (however, being knowledgeable of them is definitely an advantage).

Note: in order to avoid tautology, the terms special needs and disability (as well as the adjectives special needs, disabled, differently abled) will be used interchangeably in all the user group materials. This applies to all situations, where a clear distinction between these terms is not required.

Goals and Objectives[edit]

  • Extensive collaboration with local NGOs and/or government agencies (regardless of jurisdiction) working with people with special needs
  •  Raising awareness of the ways the SNC members can obtain knowledge and information, dwell thereupon and create new content in the Wikimedia universe
  •  Adequate representation of the disability-related matters in the Wikimedia projects
  • Keeping up-to-date with the local initiatives pertaining to disability/special needs matters
  •  Advocacy for the right of special needs community (SNC) members to information and education on all levels
  • Developing comprehensive courses and aids enabling SNC members efficient participation in the Wikimedia projects
  • Involvement of SNC members into initiatives pertaining to Wikimedia projects in local languages
  • Creating a network of local traineeship, Wiki-Leadership, Wiki-Embassy … programs involving SNC members

History[edit]

The idea of the Special Needs affiliate was first articulated during the Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2018 in Lviv, Ukraine.

Events and activities[edit]

You can find the list of our events and activities here.

Membership and participation[edit]

  • The user group is global, which means that anyone, regardless of jurisdiction, is free to join it, as well as participate any of the local events.
  • The user group is open for everyone, which means that disability is neither a prerequisite, nor a limit for joining. You can join if you have special needs yourself, if you have someone with special needs among your friends and family, or if you just feel like contributing to our activities and want to raise awareness of the SNC issues.

Contact information[edit]

Please Join Us[edit]

  • If you're willing to join, please feel free to add your username to the subpage.
  • If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please leave them at the discussion page.