“I don’t have to stay in the main shopping street anymore”
My name is Geert Dumoulin, aged 55. I am married and father of 5 children. Since I had a car accident when I was 22, I spend my life in a wheelchair.
As a passionate construction worker I had never expected that there would be so many barriers: roads and boardwalks in a poor condition, lacking signage, inaccessible entrances and barely any public accessible toilets.
Visiting Bruges wasn’t easy, then. Usually, we would only walk in the main shopping street, because I didn’t want to be confronted with inaccessibility all the time. Historical buildings typically had a main entrance with steps and practically never a ramp or an alternative entrance. Shops, pubs and restaurants didn’t have an accessible toilet. And if they had it, nobody knew. I was lucky to have a partner who could assist me.
Today, the websites www.visitflanders.com/accessibility and (in Dutch) www.toevla.be provide the necessary (checked) information to help you organise a trip or holiday.
The map and brochure ‘Bruges accessible for everybody’ help so much. The itinerary leads almost seamlessly to the highlights of the city. The description of points of interest, restaurants, pubs, etc. is a must-read. Public toilets are described in a clear way, with photographs, starting from the path towards them. For accommodation, accessibility labels are used, with more information in the specific brochures from Visit Flanders.
So, when I visit Bruges now, I don’t have to stay in the main shopping street anymore!
Find out more about how Bruges is being made accessible to visitors by reading the factsheet.
Enable India, one of our Impact Transfer Program Alumni, is looking for partners in Ethiopia and Bangladesh to replicate their Enable Vaani Solution. Do you have any contacts that you can recommend?
Enable Vaani is an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) social media platform for persons with disability in rural areas. Enabling persons with disability and their communities to collaborate through mobile phones (without the need of internet). The system allows users to listen and respond to recorded voice messages from the disability community regarding education and employment opportunities, workplace solutions, enhanced life skills and more.
Daniel Kish, a 2018 Zero Project awardee took part in a workshop in Vienna at the end of June to share his FlashSonar navigation technique which aids navigation for persons with visual impairments. The workshop was organised by Ashoka Austria, following up on their excellent work partnering with Daniel for the Zero Project Impact Transfer – A programme to find innovative disability solutions and copy them to new places around the world – which was unveiled at the 2018 Zero Project Conference.
Daniel Kish continues to make waves everywhere he goes with his energy and passion for sharing his FlashSonar technique. The technique trains persons with visual impairments to use clicking of their tongue to navigate the environment by echolocation, similar to how bats find their way in the dark.
We are very pleased to see Daniel back in Austria and wish him the best for continuing to spread the word.
Sozialhelden, in partnership with Unitymedia and Impact Hub Berlin are looking for innovative technology-based ideas and solutions that enable people with disabilities to actively participate in everyday social life. Solutions may be websites and apps, technical aids or support software.
With €20,000 prize money up for grabs and individual coaching for 3 winning teams, this is an opportunity not to be missed. Get your application in by the 19th July deadline by visiting the website.
You are interested in supporting a highly motivated team with worldwide outreach and you are ready to accept the challenges of a dynamic, fast developing project?
Then please send us your application now!
We are looking for a person, who can support us within the next 12 months starting from August 2018, and is available part time (25 to 30 hours/week). Our office is located in the First District of Vienna.
“Now I can even invite some of my friends with disabilities to the beach.”
I am Wael Galmouch, and I have always been fond of going to the beach, where my friends and I would walk around and relax. Then I had my accident. I became physically disabled, and since the beach tents that we used to go to were not accessible for people with disabilities, I had to wait for the few occasions when my friends would carry me there. But it was not the same as before, because I had to stay in one spot. I could not reach the water, and we had to cut our trip short when I needed to use the bathroom.
Things changed, however, when the Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union initiated the “Inclusive Tourism” project in Lebanon and adapted tent number 19, the dock from the parking area to the water, in addition to providing an accessible bathroom and menu. Now I am back to visiting the beach as I used to do before my accident, and I can even invite some of my friends with disabilities to join me now that it has become available for all.
Find out more about how LPHU are making tourism inclusive in Lebanon by reading the factsheet.