A photo of Lucy Bennett
,

The story of Lucy Bennett, senior designer for AMAC Accessibility

“Equal, inclusive access empowers everyone to achieve.”

My name is Lucy Bennett, and I’m the senior designer for AMAC Accessibility. For the last year and a half, I’ve been responsible for AMAC’s marketing media and work to make sure we’re promoting ourselves with the same level of accessibility that our services provide. I also began working as a leader in the design community to push for more accessibility and inclusion in the field for people with disabilities.

I’ve always had the desire to be a leader in the design community, but didn’t feel I had the skill or unique experience to contribute. Once I began the ICT Accessibility MOOC and learning about universal design and the ways designers can benefit from the accessible ICT practices, I found a cause to be passionate about and a unique viewpoint to share with emerging designers.

Equal, inclusive access empowers everyone to achieve. Through taking the ICT Accessibility MOOC, I’ve been able to teach others about accessibility and how it can improve the human condition. I was invited to be a member of AIGA’s Diversity & Inclusion task force; shortly after receiving that invite, I was also asked to participate in AIGA’s first multi-chapter design thinking workshop, relaunching the EMERGE 2.0 programming to help emerging designers.

Through the EMERGE 2.0 programming, we’ll craft an accessible framework that will be used nationwide to empower a new generation of designers, giving them new opportunities for growth and leadership.

Read more about the ICT Accessibility Open Online Course and how it is promoting accessibility by reading the factsheet.

Group photo of the 2018 Zero Project awardees
,

Zero Project Receives 318 Nominations from 78 countries

What a few months it has been! When we opened the nominations back in May we thought we had a rough idea of what to expect. Hopefully we’d be fortunate to receive amazing, inspiring nominations from around the world and yes, we would expect most of them to come in just before the deadline! But what we weren’t ready for was the sheer quality of the field this year. Now, more than ever, it is becoming increasingly difficult to say no to some of these amazing projects.

This year, we have received a whopping 318 nominations from 78 countries. That is an increase of over 20% on what we received when we last visited this topic four years ago.

We are well under way with reading and evaluating the nominations, alongside our experts around the globe. This is possibly the best part of our work – Where we can learn about what the incredible community is doing around the world to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.

This year we have been reading about wheelchair basketball in Afghanistan and teaching political processes in Sweden. We have read about grassroots leadership for women with disabilities in Cambodia and inclusive elections in Kenya. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Somehow our experts have to help us bring the field down to around 70 by the conference in February. I do not envy them!

Thanks to everyone who has made a nomination. We will be getting in touch with you individually over the coming weeks to let you know how your application has been doing, so please bear with us!

To read more about the nomination statistics, check out our press release for the nomination phase.

Stacy Cervenka, Conchita Hernández and Red Szell

Congratulations to the 2018 Holman Prize Winners!

Congratulations to the three incredible winners of this year’s Holman Prize, from LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The Holman Prize for Blind Ambition awards $25,000 to projects that embody a sense of adventure. Three exceptional blind individuals will set off around the world on adventures they never imagined possible. This year, the winners will promote blind empowerment in Mexico, complete a dramatic oceanic triathlon, and develop the first online community for blind travel.

Find out more by visiting the LightHouse website.

We look forward to hearing about their adventures in the coming year!

Zero Project banner with text: Zero Project is looking for a freelance author

The Zero Project is looking for a freelance author!

The Zero Project is excited to announce a new opportunity for a limited period. We are looking for an experienced and self-motivated freelance author to join us on a short-term project between August and October 2018. We are looking for a native English speaker who will work on a sub-project of the Zero Project. The role will involve writing approximately 50 ‘fact-sheets’, similar to the ones published on the Zero Project website. The factsheets will be written based on existing material that the Zero Project will provide, with no research required.

If you are interested in the role please send your CV/experience to w.kainz@zeroproject.org and tell us why you would like to work with us.

Please share this with your own networks!

Youtube screenshot of a long flat path in semi-rural Telemark, Norway

More accessible footpaths for Telemark!

Telemark’s program of upgrading footpaths rolls on! A new 600-metre path has been completed in Drangedal municipality and there are plans to extend further this summer! Users can benefit from the outdoors by following the path of a disused railway line. The program has already seen footpaths improved in 12 of the 18 districts of Telemark, allowing users of various abilities to benefit from using flat, wide, stable footpaths which in many cases connect urban areas to rural areas, allowing locals and tourists to enjoy the great Norwegian outdoors! This multi-stakeholder approach continues at pace and we are very pleased to hear (and see) the progress.

Find out more by visiting the factsheet on the Zero Project website or by reading how the footpaths give meaning to life for Anne-Lise Dahl.

Geert Dumoulin enjoying Bruges by wheelchair

The Story of Geert Dumoulin, regular visitor to Bruges

“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.

A woman accessing information through a mobile phone.

Enable India are looking for partners in Ethiopia, Bangladesh and other countries in Africa and Asia!

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.

Find out more by reading the Enable Vaani fact sheet or by watching the presentation from the Zero Project Conference 2018.

Get in touch via the Enable Vaani website or email direct julian@enableindia.org.

Promotional banner for Daniel Kish, reading "Daniel Kish M.A. Spec.Ed M.A. Psych - Developmental Psychology, Ashoka Fellow, TED speaker, COMS. Visioneers - A Division of World Access for the Blind. President, Lead Perceptual Navigation Instructor, Activational Presenter

Daniel Kish continues his Austrian connection

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.

Find out more by visiting the links below:

Impact Transfer Website

FlashSonar innovative practice factsheet

Daniel Kish keynote at the Zero Project Conference

Impact Transfer short video

Visioneers website – FlashSonar 

A group photo of people cheering and waving, some holding awards

Digital Imagination Challenge Germany

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.