A group with and without physical disabilites walking together in the woods.
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The story of Anne-Lise Dahl, a daily walker

“Those daily trips give meaning to my life.”

My name is Anne-Lise Dahl. I am 79 and have lived alone since my husband died six years ago. During the last years of his life he had difficulty walking because of illness. I have been an active person all my life. I love being outdoors walking my dogs. I love nature, the fresh air, physical activity, and meeting nice people. My husband had the same interests.

When my husband was alive, we became less able to continue walking together. But the dogs helped us to get out every day, despite the weather. If not for the dogs, we could have been both mentally and physically less satisfied.

At least two important things happened to us. My late husband got an electric wheelchair – more like a scooter for being outdoors. Second, a functional footpath into the nature preserve close to our house was created. The footpath incorporates Universal Design elements, without compromising the experience of being close to nature when walking on it.

Even though my husband was in a wheelchair, we went for walks in the woods every day – in rain and sun, in windy or quiet weather. But not when there was snow and ice.

I now use a wheelchair myself because of a hip surgery, but I still take my daily walks on this lovely path. Getting inspiration from green nature, fresh air, and meeting other people, these daily trips give meaning to my life.

Read more about how Telemark’s County Council makes footpaths accessible for leisure and daily use by reading the factsheet.

Michael Fembek with Martin Essl

EVPA – Interview with Michael Fembek, Director of the Zero Project

 

Martin Vogelsang

Martin Vogelsang at the Corporate and Entrepreneur Forum

We were incredibly happy to invite Martin Vogelsang from the European Venture Philanthropy Association to the UN in Vienna to take part in the Zero Project Conference.

 

Martin played a key role as an expert panellist in the Corporate and Entrepreneurship Forum, where he provided posed questions and provided advice to IT-related start-ups working in the assistive technology field.

Shortly after, Martin was able to catch up with Zero Project Director, Michael Fembek to find out more about the challenges and future vision of the Zero Project.

You can read the full interview by visiting the EVPA website.

A picture of Issei accessing the app.
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The story of Issei Kizu, Bmaps user

“Bmaps has enabled me to be out and about with peace of mind.”

My name is Issei Kizu and I live in Tokyo. I have a congenital disease that makes my bones fragile; they are prone to break and bend easily. I use a lightweight electric wheelchair to go out. During my free time I take great pleasure in visiting new places and trying popular restaurants. As a wheelchair user, however, I used to give up trying to enter certain places because of steps, to my disappointment.

With Bmaps I can check the number of steps of the places I want to visit in advance, so now I don’t have to wait until I reach my destination to find out if it is accessible or not. It is particularly helpful when I go out with another wheelchair user, as we wish to move around by ourselves without having to ask for assistance.

The reviews by other users make me feel assured and encouraged to go out. I make it a rule to log the accessibility information of the places I could enter, hoping it will help others like me. Bmaps has enabled me to be out and about with peace of mind.

As a suggestion, it would be even better if Bmaps users could communicate with each other on a common platform, as this kind of interactive feature would be very useful in exchanging more detailed information and connecting Bmaps users.

Read more about how Mirairo Inc. has developed an application With accessibility information for a range of users by reading the factsheet.

Moshe Gaon speaking on stage at the ISCL Summit

By the year 2020, no one with a disability will feel alone – The vision of yoocan

At the ISCL Summit 2018 in Tel Aviv Moshe Gaon, CEO of yoocan passionately explained yoocan’s vision that “by the year 2020, no one with a disability will feel alone. yoocan wants to provide solutions and empowerment to every person with a disability around the globe.”

Gaon announced last month that yoocan Technologies would be launching the first early seed global assistive technologies hub and investors club. The hub and club are designed to allow early stage companies in the ecosystem receive the funding and market access support they need to accelerate their growth.

Yoocan was launched in 2016 as a global collaborative community, for and by people with disabilities. Stories from more than 100 countries are now shared on it, as well as information and knowledge from thousands of community members, organizations, service providers, innovators and vendors. It is now the world’s numbers one collaborative information and connection network for people with disability.

In ISCL summit there were 400 participants from over 40 countries who gathered to exchange information and build the next generation of startup community management tools, practices, and ideas. The ISCL summit’s goal was “to promote community mindsets and methodologies among startup enablers and creators by uniting and bringing together leading community managers from around the world.” Yoocan CEO was invited to share his vision and experience in building the yoocan global community.

For more information, check out yoocanfind.com or contact Moshe:  moshe@yoocantech.com.

 

The Disability Matters Logo - Persons with various disabilities walking up an orange slope

The Disability Matters Award Application Process has Opened!

For those of you who don’t know – The Disability Matters Conference is held annually in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific and awards corporations around the globe who are mainstreaming disability. Awards are given in three categories: Workforce, Workplace and Marketplace, and in North America there are three additional awards Steps-to-Success, Disability Champion and Employer/Supplier of Choice. Don’t miss your chance to have your company publicly awarded at the Conference and to network with experts from academia, non-profit, corporations an government.

To request an award application for your company or to nominate someone else contact Ivette Lopez: ivette@consultspringboard.com (+973 813-7260 x102) or find out more by visiting the website.

Good luck!

A picture of Maja Reichard.
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The story of Maja Reichard, elite swimmer and Scandic Hotel customer

“I do not need to say anything; it just works automatically for the staff.”

My name is Maja Reichard and I am an elite swimmer. I am also blind. When I lost my eyesight I could have just crawled into a corner, but instead I chose to accept the challenge, and that’s why today I have several European and world championship medals as well as a Paralympic gold medal.

As someone who is visually impaired, the most important thing is the services that are available – that there are people around – and to know that I am welcome to ask for help. For example, it is important to feel that I can travel to a hotel without having to bring anyone else with me. I might go to a hotel for work or just to relax and feel independent. The hardest thing for me when I come into a hotel environment that I don’t know is to find that first point of contact, in this case the reception. I really appreciate when the staff recognize you – that they can see that there’s someone standing in the entrance perhaps looking a little bit lost, that they come up and ask if they can help.

A very telling experience that I’ve had at a Scandic Hotel was when I had dinner in their restaurant. I was there with my family, and when we were served the food the waitress told me that “at three o’ clock you have the potatoes, at six o’ clock is the salad” and then kept describing the whole dish to me. She told me afterwards that she had seen my folded-up blind stick under the table.

It was so great that I didn’t need to say anything; it just works automatically for the staff at Scandic. They know their stuff!

Read more about how the Scandic Hotels Group has developed a comprehensive approach to accessibility by reading the factsheet.

A picture of Omar Hesham.
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The story of Omar Hesham, user of the Entaleq app

“I am not surprised by inaccessibility anymore.”

My name is Omar Hesham. I am a 24-year-old wheelchair user and a graduate of the Faculty of Commerce at Ain Shams University.

For many years, the possibility of my going out, whether to go to school or simply to hang-out with family and friends in various venues, such as restaurants, coffee shops, and malls, was very limited due to the lack of accessibility in many places. So, either I had to go to the one or two places that I knew for sure were accessible or I had to have someone always with me to help when needed.

All this changed in March 2016, when I received an invitation from the Helm Foundation to attend the launch event for their Entaleq application. This event was my first introduction to Helm, and thus to Entaleq, and after that I downloaded the application and started to use it.
Entaleq has helped me increase my independence to move around more freely by allowing me to know the degree of accessibility of various venues and locations beforehand, instead of being surprised by their inaccessibility once I have arrived. As a result, the app helps me determine which places I can visit on my own and which ones I need help in reaching and moving about freely.

Entaleq has been continuously developing and updating its services; and I am happy to know that it is spreading to other governorates, such as Luxor, not just Cairo and Giza, as this will help many more people with disabilities to go out more and lead a more independent life, just as it has enabled me.

Read more about how Helm promotes the full inclusion of persons with disabilities through crowd-source reviews by reading the factsheet.

The ReelAbilities logo

Yoocan at ReelAbilities Film Festival New York

Our partners Yoocan recently attended the ReelAbilities Film Festival in New York to present the winner of 2017’s “Film Your Story” competition. The ReelAbilities Film Festival is the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.

Moshe Gaon with Maria Bournias and Peter Gagliardo

Left Maria Bournias, centre Moshe Gaon, right Peter Gagliardo

Yoocan CEO, Moshe Gaon, attended the ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York on March 10, 2018 to present the winner, Maria Bournias of last year’s “Film Your Story” competition. The competition was in partnership with ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York & produced by AdaptLab Productions. The film Maria & Pete premiered at the event featuring Maria Bournias and Peter Gagliardo, a power couple who crosses finish line after impossible finish line together.

yoocan CEO, Gaon, congratulated the AdaptLab Productions team for their hard work and said that “the films of the festival should reach many more people from around the world via yoocan. We invite all festival participants to submit their stories and films on yoocan. It would be a great honor to extend our partnership with the ReelAbilities Film Festival to more cities next year.”

This is the second year for this collaboration between yoocan technologies (the global collaborative community for and by people with disabilities) and ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York. Stories should be submitted directly to a special link on the front page of yoocanfind.com. A winner will be chosen on the last day of the festival. The winning story will be showcased in the 2019 ReelAbilities Film: New York.

For more information or collaborations, contact Moshe Gaon: moshe@yoocantech.com

Keiichiro Nozaki
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The Story of Keiichiro Nozaki, user of Wheelog

I think this is an amazing breakthrough for us”

My name is Keiichiro Nozaki. I am 37 years old. Seven years ago, I had an accident which resulted in paraplegia. I’ve been using a wheelchair ever since. Before I found out about “WheeLog!”, I could do my job normally in my wheelchair, but I still came across a lot of obstacles whenever I went out. For example, there were very few toilets and parking lots for people with disabilities or wheelchair-accessible restaurants. What’s more, it was difficult to get information about barrier-free places even if there were any.

However, since “WheeLog!” was released in May 2017, getting information about barrier-free places has become much easier. Users of “WheeLog!” can now post information about barrier-free spots, such as elevators, toilets, parking lots, hotels, restaurants or leisure spots onto the map in the application. Users can also record their wheelchair tracklog on the map. Therefore, wheelchair users can share experiences with wheelchair-accessible places and routes using “WheeLog!”. I think this is an amazing breakthrough for us!

Thanks to “WheeLog!”, I could go on a trip by myself more easily than before and I also posted about leisure spots and restaurants which I could go to. If we all did this, we could help accessible information accumulate on “WheeLog!” and the number of places where wheelchair users can go would increase. We could then expect the quality of our lives to improve.

Whether you’re a wheelchair user or not, you should definitely give “WheeLog!” a try!