International action

ACCION INTERNACIONAL en mapa del mundo

Un mapa del mundo con pequeños logos del Grupo Social ONCE donde este actúa, especialmente casi todos los países de Europa, África, América latina y América del norte.

ACCIÓN INTERNACIONAL. Trasladamos nuestro modelo más allá de nuestras fronteras

Un niño leyendo braille en el colegio
Our passion for creating equal opportunities makes us always look further afield and take any of our actions even to other continents

From associations for blind persons to committees and centres devoted to persons with various disabilities, at the ONCE Social Group we do our bit to expand our activities to achieve our common goal throughout the world of optimal living conditions for the development of persons, regardless of their circumstances.

Referencia ACCIÓN INTERNACIONAL del Grupo Social ONCE


The international activity of the ONCE Social Group: A step towards social inclusion and a commitment to sustainability

1. A social and economic model that is unique in the world

Miguel Carballeda en el Parlamento Europeo

The uniqueness of our social model drives our commitment to disability rights, socially responsible gambling and the development of an impactful social economy around the world. This is why, at the ONCE Social Group, we work every day to contribute improving the opportunities for inclusion and the full autonomy of blind persons and persons with other disabilities in Europe, Latin America and other parts of the world.

Our international activity aims to provide our international partners with an open, sustainable and unique  global model of inclusion, which ensures the autonomy and visibility of persons with disabilities and which is internationally recognised, backed by prestigious awards such as the European Parliament's European Citizen Award 2016.

Being convinced as we are that our model for inclusion can contribute to generating value at a global level, especially close to persons, we deploy our international action through technical assistance and active participation in the creation of more inclusive cooperation environments, through partnerships with multilateral organisations, foundations and international platforms for the rights of persons with disabilities, employment, responsible gambling, culture, tourism, social economy, multinationals and other players in the international sphere.

As a benchmark organisation in social economy, we work internationally to lay the foundations for a society that includes persons with disabilities in the labour and social sphere.

Together with all our partners, we generate opportunities to create more inclusive environments that include disability in their agendas, which promote a global society with fewer accessibility barriers and a more open society that fosters the full development of persons with disabilities.
We promote internationalisation and the generation of opportunities specific to the ONCE Social Group through its business, foundational, employment and social inclusion model. A model that is progressively gaining a global dimension and is recognised by Spain and the European Union.

The ONCE Social Group has renewed, for the fourth time, a collaboration agreement with the European Parliament to promote actions in benefit of persons with disabilities in Europe.


2. The foundations of our international activity

The framework within which the ONCE Social Group works at international level is based on:

  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • The lines of action of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals
  • The 2021-2030 European Strategy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • The ONCE Social Group's International and European Strategy

These are the pillars that structure the development of a social impact model, which is extended in a synchronised manner by the ONCE, The ONCE Foundation and Ilunion and is coordinated by the ONCE General Council. All of this with the aim of defending, highlighting and promoting the rights of the more than one billion persons with disabilities in the world.

3. The scope of our activities

The scope of our actions expands to various regions around the world, claiming disability with the approaches of human rights, universal accessibility, educational and labour inclusion and access to information, culture and transport, all transversally.

OTAE: a European commitment

The scope of our engagement extends across the European Union and is strengthened on a daily basis through our many interactions with the various European institutions.

Under the coordination of our Technical Office for European Affairs (OTAE), we build a constant and bidirectional collaboration channel with the European Union as a whole (Parliament, Commission and Council) to which we add other entities, from organisations of visually impaired persons to lottery, social economy and third sector platforms. This represents the rights and interests of more than 87 million European citizens who have a disability.

FOAL: a transatlantic partnership

The ONCE Social Group has not forgotten blind persons or persons with low vision in Latin America either. We started working there at the end of the last century and in 1998 we launched a specific foundation to promote the full social inclusion of persons with visual impairment in Latin America (FOAL), seeking to contribute to the full and equal enjoyment of their human rights and essential freedoms. And we rely on all international development cooperation instruments at our disposal and on the basis of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We extend our cooperation throughout 19 countries in Latin America through education programmes, labour inclusion and institutional strengthening of public, private or civil society organisations.  We also focus many of our actions on the field of rehabilitation and enabling of persons with visual impairment and we organise recreational and sporting activities in addition to research and application of new technologies throughout a large part of the territory.

Our main mission is to reduce the cycle of poverty and exclusion associated with disability by empowering people, supporting their families and working in coordination with states, educational centres, companies, public and/or private entities. We pay special attention to the most vulnerable groups, such as visually impaired girls and women - those living in rural environments - indigenous persons and persons with deafblindness.


The Euro-Mediterranean region: an area of exchange for the rights of persons with disabilities to be represented

From the ONCE Social Group, together with the Unión por el Mediterráneo (UPM), we collaborate closely to demand human rights, employment, accessibility, tourism and gender equality as key ways for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the countries of the Euro-Mediterranean area, through the promotion of cooperation projects. We work to combat the challenges and limitations of persons with disabilities and to strengthen our link with the countries of the region in order to build alliances and synergies in favour of inclusion.


4. Our executive areas abroad

ONCE: responsible lotteries for committed social services

From the ONCE International Gambling Area we try to disseminate our social, safe and responsible lottery model beyond our borders, with a unique structure in the world that stands out for its differential nature within the gambling sector.

Every day we work to raise awareness of the ONCE model through its participation in all the international sector associations to which it belongs (European Lotteries, World Lottery Association and the Corporación Iberoamericana de Loterías), in addition to international events and forums, both in person and online, related to the responsible, safe and social gambling sector.

At the ONCE Social Group, we consider it essential to work on social awareness and sensitisation, promoting the development of gambling projects on a global scale, which generate new opportunities for persons with disabilities. To this end, we promote agreements with lottery operators and associations of persons with disabilities in other countries that allow us to develop sustainable gambling markets, reconciling economic profitability with social contribution.

The ONCE's social services are at the forefront, offering a framework of support to Erasmus or Latin America students who are blind or have low vision, in addition to strongly supporting the inclusion in Spain of refugees from conflicts such as the war in Ukraine or supporting the education of blind children in the Saharawi refugee camps.

The ONCE Foundation: training, employment and universal accessibility

At the international level, we articulate a cooperation instrument for development through our ONCE Foundation for the Cooperation and Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. An ambitious project that, since 1988, promotes, favours and encourages projects in the field of training, employment and universal accessibility, with the aim of improving the living conditions of persons with other disabilities in Spain and abroad.

Through our Inserta model, together with the support of local partners, we promote the integration of persons with disabilities into the labour market in Latin America, Portugal and Morocco. We also strive to generate training opportunities and promote universal accessibility worldwide.

The ONCE Foundation is also an international model in developing knowledge in the field of accessibility for persons with disabilities, including strategic partnerships with large technology companies such as Microsoft and international organisations such as the World Tourism Organisation.

Ilunion: social economy, people, excellence, transformation and sustainability

Through our Ilunion model, we present a unique business group in the world, which stands out for its transformation and excellence focused on people and sustainability.

Through the setting up of different establishments internationally, we continue to generate decent, quality employment beyond our borders, demonstrating that social and economic profitability are feasible both inside and outside Spain.

Ilunion, through its industrial laundries, has established itself in Colombia with two laundries that generate dignified employment for persons with disabilities. It has also become a strategic partner of American and European multilateral organisations in promoting development that is accessible to all.

Through our Ilunion laundries in Colombia, almost 300 people have already found employment, around 70% of whom have a disability.


5. A unique system of alliances and partnerships 

The ONCE Social Group has established a network of international strategic alliances, where we participate in more than 40 international networks representing the movement of persons with disabilities (the World Blind Union or the European Blind Union); the social economy (European Social Economy or Philea); Lottery with a purpose (the World and European Lottery Associations); services for persons with disabilities (the European Disability Services Association or the International Consortium for the Education of Persons with Visual Impairment), and international harmonisation bodies (International and Ibero-American Braille Councils or the Daisy Consortium).

Similarly, we have established partnerships with international and multilateral organisations such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Development Bank of Latin America, among others. In addition, strategic partnerships are directed towards UN agencies such as UNICEF or the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Among the strategic alliances is the Ibero-American Disability Programme, created within the framework of the Ibero-American General Secretariat, whose technical assistance is provided by the ONCE Social Group. Through a multi-country fund, it works on the regulatory quality of the region in relation to persons with disabilities.

We have cooperation projects in more than 30 countries in Europe, Africa and Latin America, and more than 10 strategic partnerships with multilateral organisations, international agencies and European institutions at a global level.