AS a mountains land, Armenia is not one of the places that spring to mind when it comes to ideal destinations for disabled persons. However, there are in fact various disability-friendly ways to explore the country.
The situation for disabled people in Armenia still remains a serious societal problem today. The country lacks suitably adapted infrastructure, which makes getting around difficult if not impossible in some areas, especially rural ones.
Women, who account for 47% of all disabled people in Armenia, are particularly badly effected Stereotyped, discriminated against and subjected to prejudice, they are perceived as pariahs, incapable of fulfilling the roles of wife and mother expected of them and therefore useless and undesirable. Strongly entrenched traditional attitudes are proving difficult to change, despite the country's adherence to the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Most of these women never get married and also have problems finding work.
Organisations exist that are trying to remedy this situation by improving access to education, healthcare and employment for this sector of the population. Though attitudes are slowly changing, the situation remains a long way from ideal.
Anyone who plans to travel to Armenia and is affected by a disability is strongly advised to arrange everything in advance. Due to the lack of suitable infrastructure and an everyday disregard for the special needs of disabled people, it is better to organise the trip through a specialist travel agency or organisation. These will be able to inform you about the hotels that are equipped and suitable for persons with reduced mobility, for example.
Likewise, when it comes to the best way of exploring the mountainous landscapes of this part of the world and getting the most out of your visit to Armenia, be sure to collect together all the information you need before you go. It is possible to go on properly assisted and supported hikes, but good knowledge of the terrain and careful organisation are required for this.