Thomas Kraus from Berlin, Germany, is the initiator of the world congresses for persons with disabilities. The First European Congress "Living in the Encounter" was held in 1998 in Berlin. 500 participants have attended the event.

Since then this event has become a good tradition. As of today some 6 European Congresses were successfully held in Germany, in Switzerland, in Check Republic, in the Netherlands, in Austria and Belgium.
Soon the idea was spread over the world. There were held several regional congresses in different countries: 3 congresses in Brazil, 2 congresses in Russia (Moscow and Yekaterinburg), including some held in Argentina, Columbia, Caucasus (Georgia and Armenia), in the South-Eastern Europe, in the Nordic countries and 3 congresses held in Thailand.

The history of the European Congresses

1998, Berlin, Germany – Discover your biography – 500 participants

2001, Dornach, Switzerland – Building bridges – 600 participants

2005, Prague, the Czech Republic – Threshold as an opportunity – 630 participants

2008 , the Hague, Netherlands – The tide is turning – 700 participants

2011, Vienna, Austria – Searching for traces – 650 participants

2015, Brussels, Belgium – Creating Social Art – 600 participants

The history of the Russian Congresses

The First Russian Congress for persons with disabilities «Many a little makes the whole» took place in Moscow, 2010. The theme of the Congress was chosen as "Meetings" – 250 participants.

The Second Russian Congress for the persons with disability «Many a little makes the whole» took place in 2012 in Yekaterinburg where more than 350 participants from different regions of the Russian Federation came together including guests from CIS and Europe such as handicapped persons, social workers and educators, volunteers and representatives of the NGOs. The theme was chosen as "Find your gemstone".

After the Second Russian Congress, in summer 2013, the initiator of the worldwide congresses Thomas Kraus, got the idea to launch the First World Congress in Yekaterinburg in 2017. His initiative was supported by Vera Simakova, the director of NPSPO Blagoe delo and Petter Holm, the manager of international projects of the Nordic Association for Curative Education and Social Therapy. Oleg Kolpaschikov, the President of White Cane, a non-governmental organisation for blind people, has become the fourth member of the team dedicated to the preparation of the First World Congress.

The initiative was fully supported by the NGOs of persons with disabilities of the Sverdlovsk region. The disability organizations of the region are socially active, and many of them realize socially oriented projects as winners of the tender competitions at the federal level.

Eugene Kuyvashev, the Governor of the Sverdlovsk region, fully endorsed the initiative on running the First World Congress for persons with disabilities in the middle Urals, and the initiative was announced in the 6th European Congress for persons with disabilities held in 2015 in Brussels. Pursuant to the Government Decree as of 09.09.2015, with the reference number 982-РП “About the preparation and holding of the First World Congress for persons with disabilities in 2017 on the territory of the Sverdlovsk region” an Organizing Committee was appointed with duly approved board of members. The heads of the Government of the Sverdlovsk region, representatives of the state bodies of executive power, as well as NPOs and NGOs of the handicapped persons were included in the board of the Organizing Committee (in total 30 members).

The initiator of the congresses and representatives of the cooperating NGOs Blagoe delo, White Cane and Nordic Association established the International Coordinating Committee of the First World Congress for persons with disabilities in Yekaterinburg, 2017 (in total 4 members, whereof the two Russian representatives are members of the Russian Organising Committee).