Poverty? No Thanks

20 September 2018

On the 25th September, the world will be celebrating the third anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)! At the European Disability Forum, we are also celebrating by publishing a series of articles, highlighting how the SDGs are critical for persons with disabilities. Today, we will focus on Goal 1 : No poverty, with the work done by EDF member ONCE Foundation, as well as ONCE in Spain.

Spain in characterized in the EU by a high unemployment rate with a specific alarming situation regarding youth employment and education which leads to poverty. Consequently, ONCE and ONCE Foundation have developed specific projects targeted to youth with disabilities. The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs enlighten the importance of quality inclusive education through Goal 4 – Quality Education. The SDGs also recognize the importance of inclusive environments in workplaces for persons with disabilities, with Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth.


ONCE and its Foundation are aware of the extreme importance of education to promote the inclusion of youth with disabilities in society. As such, ONCE devotedly supports blind and partially sighted students in the Erasmus Programme with a number of actions:

  • During the academic year 2017-2018, students who are blind or partially sighted got the opportunity to study courses on translating law, political science and sociology through various European universities such as Rome and Aberdee n, under the Erasmus program. Furthermore, a law and business administration student who is deaf-blind also participated in the programme at the University of London.

  • Also, ONCE has concluded a partnership agreement with the Conferencia de Rectores de Universidades Espanolas (Conference of University Vice-Chancellors) to assist students who are blind or partially sighted coming to Spain under any international exchange programs. This assistance covers – among other things – rehabilitation, specific technology, and guide-dog users.

  • As part of ONCE’s 80th anniversary, from 5 to 8 July 2018, Erasmus students who are blind or partially sighted from Europe met in Madrid to exchange experiences and bond among themselves. This initiative successfully included more students who are blind or partially sighted in the Erasmus programs.


In 2017, 10,000 youths with disabilities attended different programmes developed by the ONCE Foundation in the areas of training, education and employment, with the support of the European Social Fund. We are proud to report that 2,172 young people have successfully found a job and 2,850 youths have been effectively trained.

  • 3,800 youths with disabilities have attended a training on job skills evaluation.
  • 1,340 youths with disabilities participated in different programs. Those programmes include paid internships in companies, scholarships to improve their English abroad, or a year-long program with a recognized degree for youths with intellectual disabilities in collaboration with 15 universities.
  • ONCE Foundation, in partnership with different organisations, with “First Job Plan,” provided financial support for companies to hire youths with disabilities under contracts for a 6-months duration. Moreover, with “Digital Academy”, training on digital skills for youths with intellectual disabilities is provided, including (but not limited to) in areas such as marketing, digital design, programming, and robotics. These and other similar programs reached 1,850 youths with disabilities.

EDF is proud to be celebrating both the third anniversary of the SDGs and the incredible achievements of ONCE and its Foundation's programmes for persons with disabilities. We hope the trend of inclusion and accessibility only continues to grow. These programs are essential to achieve the no poverty goal, as education and employment are crucial to this initiative, especially for persons with disabilities.

For more information, please contact: Marion Steff, SDGs Coordinator, marion.steff@edf-feph.org or Carla Bonino, CSR and Sustainability - Head of Unit, cbonino@fundaciononce.es

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