A brief history. The European decade
The European decade
The first decade of the 21st century has been one of international action not only because of the help provided, but also due to the ONCE’s presence in organizations capable of influencing government policies for people with disabilities. An outcome of this effort was the approval of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a true milestone that came to pass in October of 2007. Another display of the ONCE’s influence on the international stage is its presence in the European Blind Union (EBU), on the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI), in the World Blind Union (WBU) and its representation - through the CERMI – on the European Disability Forum, among other organizations of this caliber.
The new technologies
The blind and visually impaired are not foreign to technical advances, given the possibility that technology offers them to take a qualitative and quantitative leap forward in terms of their self-reliance.
Computer, the internet, e-mail, cellular telephones, all of them enhanced with accessible programs and devices specifically adapted for use by disabled persons, have opened up a whole new world of personal, employment and social possibilities. That is why the ONCE supports initiatives to normalize technology and funds a Typhlotechnic Research, Development and Application Center (CIDAT).
For the blind, browsing the internet, for example, an unthinkable endeavor not two decades ago, is no longer an issue in the 21st century.
That is because the ONCE, after seventy-plus years of existence, has gone from providing assistance to full normalization. This translates into almost full employment for its members and a reasonable degree of self-reliance, resulting in the ability to face each new day like any other person, a truly remarkable achievement considering the birth in the late 1930s of the Spanish National Organization of the Blind.