July 2009 Archives

From Ezine @rticles by Alvin Starkman

At first blush David Hornick appears to be the most unlikely candidate to be spear-heading a housing development in the state of Oaxaca, one of the southernmost and poorest states in Mexico; his Spanish is sparse to be generous, until earlier this year he Mexican cohousing.jpghad never ventured to this part of the country, he's never designed or built a home, and he's lived virtually all his life in Schenectady, New York, leading a more or less typical, middle-class Jewish existence.

But Hornick had a vision, born of other life experiences which made him more qualified than most to proceed with the project. "One thing about me," he explained on his first trip to Oaxaca, "is that once I decide to do something, you know it's already been thoroughly considered - and then there's no stopping me."

For more than three decades Hornick has been a family physician, diagnosing and treating exclusively aging Americans ... through home visits. He and wife Roberta, his partner in the medical practice, have learned that where and how we traditionally live is rarely conducive to graceful and easy aging from a position of economic security.

The answer, as I've come to conclude over the past several months of tutelage from Hornick, at least for creating a blueprint for the solution, is to import some of the characteristics of collaborative housing (cohousing) and as many key elements as practicable of universal design, into a region of the world where the concerns can best be addressed - Oaxaca ... for starters. And that's exactly what Hornick's done.

Collaborative housing

Cohousing communities are usually designed as a series of attached or single-family homes along one or more pedestrian walkways or clustered around a courtyard. While the concept originated in Denmark, since the early 1980s it has been promoted in the U.S., and since then similar communities using the basic concept have developed throughout other countries in the Western World such as Canada, France, Germany and New Zealand.

Each community includes a larger building facility, a "common house," constituting the social center of the complex where neighbors can meet, dine, attend to activities which traditionally are not required on a daily basis (i.e. laundry), and even host guests in small apartments. The latter two points have implications in terms of minimizing overall cost for each resident, since space not normally occupied on a daily basis is omitted from individual homes.

While in the purest of models residents actively participate in the design of their own neighborhood, in this case prospective members are spared that effort - Hornick has devoted his entire adult life assessing the needs of Americans as their stages in life change. Accordingly, substantial progress for the Oaxaca project has already been advanced, and in fact there is a website in place, addressing those interested in pursing a lifestyle change in the foreseeable future. It currently includes photographs of the two proposed tracts of land, site plans and architectural drawings of the two models of home.

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Hornick prefers to avoid commonly used terms such as intentional or collaborative housing, as well as cohousing, in favor of simply "neighborhoods" and "communities." The former import the idea of consensus decision-making, which he does not believe is workable. He does envision, however, a "resident council" (perhaps similar to a condominium's board of directors) to assist with suggestions relating to the neighborhood. This indicates that his approach is realistic and his model is feasible. The project does require, he stresses, participants' acceptance of, and working together to promote, certain basic goals: energy efficiency; respect for the environment; the utilization of locally produced "green" materials (in construction and otherwise); affordability; and universal design which enables people of all ages to grow and mature well.

Universal design

Universal design (UD) can be defined as the creation of products (including communication systems) and environments (including landscapes) which are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. It has often been associated with exclusively addressing the elderly and infirmed. And in fact there should be no doubt that within the context of the Oaxaca project the concept will be extremely attractive to those in their fifties and older, many winding down their careers and embarking upon a new phase of life, "retirement." But the project's use of universal design addresses more - compatibility with a natural progression of functional changes throughout the lifespan, according to Hornick.

So how does UD address all ages and levels of capability, and thereby make the project attractive to families at every life stage? Hornick explains:

"We're all born helpless and short. We can't reach most light switches until we are about four years old, long after we can stand and walk. Functional capability improves (normally) up to our mid- to late-teenage years, then begins to decline.

"Light switches can be lowered to three feet to be reachable by children as well as people in wheelchairs with limited shoulder mobility. Round door knobs can be replaced by lever handles that accommodate arthritic hands, but also permit people encumbered with arms full of groceries to open a door with a free elbow. Steps can be replaced by ramps, even at the entrance to a home. Lighting intensity can be adjustable to accommodate vision as it dims with age. Shower stalls can be built without that little step-up-and-over. And there are literally a hundred or more other alternate designs and products available in the marketplace which can be considered, which do not detract from either 'normal' functionality or aesthetics of the home."

Hornick has been consulted on seniors' apartment retrofitting projects involving production of state-of-the-art adaptive design prototypes. The Oaxaca project enables his wealth of knowledge and experience to be put into action using a slightly different orientation.

We're in an era when an increasing number of individuals and couples in North America are becoming disillusioned with the work-until-you-drop mentality, the less-than-optimum environments in which they've felt compelled to live and raise their families, increasing inaccessibility to basic goods and services including healthcare, and much more recently both insecurity in the workplace and shrinking nest eggs.

The Oaxaca blueprint

Based upon Hornick's due diligence, Oaxaca proved to be a potentially attractive location to develop a prototype for what he initially labeled, when he first contacted me for advice in November, 2008, a "retirement community." That initial characterization was probably meant to pique my initial interest without having me ask too many hard-to-answer questions. I fell for it, and have been enthralled ever since, hosting David at our home, introducing him to a number of professionals he could potentially tap to advance the project, and advising him regarding prospective plots of land.

Latin American locations have distinct advantages over Canadian and American prospective project sites. While remaining north of the Rio Grande may initially appear attractive because of language, ease of access for friends and family as well as for return visits, and cultural familiarity, Oaxaca was selected because of its own unique set of pluses:

1) Access via ground transportation is consistently being improved and upgraded through Mexico's system of toll roads, already extending from various locations along the the U.S. border, directly to the City of Oaxaca; and via more convenient flight paths (such as being able to avoid Mexico City by using Continental's non-stop service from Houston, and Mexicana's from Los Angeles); 

2) Its highly agreeable climate, 12 months a year, attractive both on an individual personal level and for providing solar energy; 

3) Proximity to Pacific Coast beach destinations such as Puerto Escondido and Huatulco;

4) A modest cost of living (i.e. labor, public transportation, entertainment, food and taxes) relative to the U.S. or Canada, and even to the northern half of the country; 

5) Availability of reasonably priced tracts of land, fertile enough and with sufficient rain and ground water to support partial self-sufficiency in terms of agricultural production; 

6) A number of prospective development locations from which to choose, no more than a half hour's drive from downtown Oaxaca, assuring proximity to restaurants and cafés, galleries, museums and other cultural institutions, as well as health care professionals and hospital facilities; 

7) Its burgeoning expat community (including programs facilitated through the English language Oaxaca Lending Library) together with support from the Canadian and American consulates; 

8) Local populations which welcome non-Mexicans, motivated by both a recognition that Canadian and American immigration translates into more work and higher wages for a relatively depressed economy, and an innate desire to embrace foreigners with open arms;

9) An understanding on the part of many of its professionals, trades and business people, and government, of what the project hopes to achieve, and the potential for the growth of more of the same in other parts of the state.

Each of the two "eco village" sites identified on Hornick's website is equally attractive, meets all criteria, and easily facilitates advancing the set of common goals. The San Juan del Estado development consists of 25 acres and is about 30 minutes from downtown Oaxaca, and San Lorenzo Cacaotepec sits on 75 acres and is only 15 minutes from the city. Each is about 10 minutes from the town of Etla, known for its bustling Wednesday marketplace and production of dairy products, in particular the well-known Oaxacan cheeses (queso, and the more popular "string cheese," known as quesillo).

Each of the two developments will contain 30 detached homes of about 1,000 square feet, the common house, sheltered walkways, green and garden areas, and its own sources of water and energy as well as waste-disposal facility, thereby providing for independence from the vagaries of municipal, state and federal government utilities.

Hornick emphasizes that with more than 300 sunny days per year, the communities will be able to generate and store electricity using photovoltaic technology. Hot water will be produced using solar water heaters. Interior temperatures will be kept comfortable all year round using passive solar heating and cooling techniques - such as constructing walls of locally mined stone (known as "cantera"), clay brick or adobe, depending on relative direction of the sun and prevailing winds.

But self-sufficiency has its limits, and to some extent dependence on the broader Oaxacan community will be a key element. Hornick plans to develop relationships with residents of nearby towns and villages who are interested in employment as housekeepers, gardeners and personal care aides. In addition, there's a well entrenched practice in the state of Oaxaca whereby expats engage locals in an intercambio language arrangement, whereby a couple of hours a week informal meetings are held to help Oaxacans with their English and expats with their Spanish.

Hornick assures: "...both [locations] will have access to health care services via home care professionals who will live onsite and also via internet video teleconferencing with professionals at recognized centers of excellence." For several years he has been advancing his own medical practice along such lines. Naturally, in today's technological world he does not see distance, political boundaries, or differences in language and other aspects of culture, as impediments. "Of course there are challenges, but with perseverance they are readily overcome," he continues. "Look at where I was just a few months ago, with merely an idea and my index finger pointed to a strange location on a globe - and look at where we now are." Indeed, Hornick with his team of professionals (including Prometeo Sánchez Islas, Dean of the School of Architecture at a Oaxacan university) continue to work diligently on the project.


While visiting Oaxaca Hornick paid particular attention to indicia of cost of living, to the point of photographing sale prices in a supermarket (which attracted the attention of store management). He is currently attempting to pin down other costs such as transportation; medical insurance and other expenses; housekeeping, maintenance, landscaping and gardening (although he believes that it's important for residents to participate in such activities for exercise and to maintain a sense of function and purpose). "I'm trying to come up with a 'soft' figure to enable interested parties to determine if they can survive on social security alone." he reassures. But one thing is for certain - cost of living should be less than 50% of what most live on in the U.S. or Canada.

The horizon

Hornick plans to begin pre-selling houses at summer's end or perhaps into autumn, at a small discount for those electing to participate early on in the project, as a kind of kick-start to the development. For him, and for most on his team, the motivation is pure altruism, having identified a sense of urgency on the part of many American, Canadians, and even Mexicans, and being in the enviable position of being able to address it in this fashion, without profit motive.

In a sense he's a pioneer, having started with a dream for a better, more respectful, easier and self-fulfilling life for others in a new environment, virgin land to continue with the metaphor. He plans to lay down roots in Oaxaca, and carry on a medical practice, encouraging others of similar means to follow suit.

It was clearly different for those who had the fortitude and the instinct to find something better hundreds of years ago in opening up the American frontiers. Today there's more of a necessity, yet with virtually no gamble involved. After all, investing between $100,000 and $150,000 to have a quality constructed new home, in a safe, secure southern climate, while at the same time substantially cutting expenses through supporting a sustainable living environment, shouldn't be too difficult a lifestyle decision to make - especially for those who have already been contemplating change.

For further information, go to Dr. Hornick's website, http://www.mexicommunity.com


Alvin Starkman together with wife Arlene operates Casa Machaya Oaxaca Bed & Breakfast ( http://www.oaxacadream.com ). Alvin received his masters in social anthropology in 1978, and his law degree in 1984. Thereafter he was a litigator in Toronto until taking early retirement. He and his family were frequent visitors to Oaxaca between 1991 and when they became permanent residents in 2004. Alvin reviews restaurants, writes about life and cultural traditions in Oaxaca, and tours couples and families to the villages.

The state of the art in adventure sports for all users is being advanced by EZ Dock and EZ launch.
EZ Dock.png
See their web site:


Here is the EZ Launch .pdf

For  broad vision of progress in accessible outdoor adventure visit the Access to Recreation Initiative

See also Michigan's Accessible Recreation work.

Thailand has a long, sustained policy of inclusion of people with disabilities in tourism. Below is announcement of one such example that was brought to our attention by  cultural tourism specialist Susy Barry who contributed to the project:
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All visitors to the National Museum Bangkok are invited to learn about Thailand through Touching Thailand Tours.

During these Tours, visitors are able to touch specially selected Buddha statues, architectural items, ceramics and other pieces while they learn about Thai art, history and culture.

Developed in conjunction with the National Museum Bangkok (NMB), the Thailand Association of the Blind (TAB) and the NMV, these hands-on programs have been designed so that blind and visually impaired Thais and foreigners can learn about Thai history, art and culture through their fingers.

The NMV now offers these Tours in English to all visitors. Touching Thailand Tours are available to the public on request as a Special Tour.

For more details, please contact: touch@museumvolunteersbkk.net

Testing Google Voice

Google Voice is a new service that gathers all your various

In order to further the cause of barrier-free architecture for physically disabled people, city-based Bal Kalyan Sanstha (BKS) will conduct a survey of well-known structures in the city [of Pune] to find whether they are accessible to disabled people.

"Sometime in the second week of August we are going to survey the premises and architecture of public buildings like the Balgandharva Rangmandir, Tilak Smarak Mandir and the Pune railway station, among other edifices and request the Pune Municipal Corporation to make them barrier-free, if we find any barriers for disabled people in these structures," Minetta Patil, manager, Bal Kalyan Sanstha, said.

Meanwhile in a bid to spread awareness about barrier-free architecture and to include the physically-disabled in the mainstream. A two-day seminar, titled No disabilities, infinite possibilities,' has also been organised by city-based non-governmental organisation EKansh, in association with the Bal Kalyan Sanstha, the Indian Institute of Architects, Pune, and the Disability Research and Design Foundation (DRDF), Mumbai, on August 7 and 8.

To be held at the Bal Kalyan Sanstha on Ganeshkhind road, the seminar will focus on progressive strategies for the development of the physically-disabled people, visually-impaired, and the speech- and hearing- impaired. It will have representatives from various bodies and organisations talking on different aspects related to disability.

For instance, architects from Pune and Mumbai will be speaking on barrier-free architectural features in buildings to facilitate easy movement of the physically-disabled people. Laws on the same will also be explained by lawyers.

"Let us first accept that we are not sensitive towards the physically- disabled people, and then work towards making ourselves aware and helping them. The seminar is aimed at this effort," Anita Iyer, founder-member, EKansh, said.

The organisers are also conducting a competition on barrier-free architecture, for which it has received entries from 12 architecture colleges. The winner, who will walk away with a cash prize of Rs 25,000, will be announced on the first day of the seminar by chief guest mayor Rajlaxmi Bhosale.

Psychologist Divyanshu Ganatra, himself visually-impaired, will be talking on GPRS for the visually-impaired, while expressive art therapist Jyoti Mate, who uses all forms of art for the mentally- disabled children in a private school in Pune, will be speaking on artistic and creative abilities of physically-disabled people. "There needs to be a mind and body coordination while teaching dance movements to special children. Thinking out-of-the-box is needed to help the special children grow better," said Mate.

Sandhya Limaye, faculty, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and her students will conduct an interactive session to sensitise the audience towards disabled people. "There will also be talks on career opportunities in special education that caters to the physically- disabled people, visually-impaired and the deaf and the dumb," said Iyer.

Representatives from the Helen Keller Institute, Mumbai, and Khadki- based Queen Mary's Technical Institute will also present talks on August 8. Nisha Grover from the Vadodra-based Akshar Foundation will elaborate on the oral education for the deaf with the help of hearing aids. A Braille demonstration by Meera Badve, director, the Nivant Andhamukta Vikasalaya, Yerawada, is also in the offing.

Atiya Hajee, member of the EKansh team, will interpret the entire seminar in sign language.



With his right hand amputated below his elbow following an accident as a child, Rakesh Gole, a Nepalese, struggled hard growing up with his disability.

Born to a farmer's family of the Tamang tribe in the Nepalese village of Makhwanpur under the Phaparbari district, Rakesh, now 40, grew up working with his father in the field.

As a young man, Rakesh became a respectable farmer in the Tamang community. His disability turned into a force that pushed him into a visionary man. He decided to take up an arduous journey alone on a specially designed motorbike touring the eight Saarc countries in a bid to forge a 'unity among physically challenged persons'.

Using his left hand, Rakesh rode to Bangladesh on his motorcycle, Hero Honda, which is donated by its manufacturer, five days ago. He entered Bangladesh via India through the Banglabandha border. With Nepalese flags on his bike and a slogan inscribed along number plates, he was seen riding towards Dhaka past Bogra.

"My dream is to help physically challenged men, women and children of this region unite against superstition and social prejudices," said Rakesh in broken Hindi, sitting on his bike by the highway.

Father of two children, a boy aged 12 and a girl aged 16, Rakesh showed dozens of certificates from different organisations wishing him good luck for his endeavour.

"I really like the way Bangladeshis welcomed me all along the road. It is a great inspiration for all of us," he said, adding that he would be heading for Sri Lanka from here within a month.

Rakesh's physical disability has made him extra careful while riding his bike with his left hand. He rides slowly on his way and takes frequent breaks to talk to people and disseminate the message he has brought with him from the people of Nepal.

"We need unity to overcome any problems on our way to the end of the journey of our life," he said.



G3ict's Analysis: ICT Accessibility in the Context of the United States Commitment to the CRPD

By announcing the signature by the United States of the Convention on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enacted on July 26, 1990, President Barak Obama fulfilled his campaign promises.  While taking a clear and strong position in support of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, President Obama emphasized accessibility Rights including to technology applications and services in the context of education and employment.

"As we reflect upon the past and look toward a brighter future, we recognize that our country has made great progress. More than ever before, Americans with disabilities enjoy greater access to technology and economic self-sufficiency. More communities are accessible, more children with disabilities learn alongside their peers, and more employers recognize the capabilities of people with disabilities.  Despite these achievements, much work remains to be done. People with disabilities far too often lack the choice to live in communities of their choosing; their unemployment rate is much higher than those without disabilities; they are much likelier to live in poverty; health care is out of reach for too many; and too many children with disabilities are denied a world-class education." 

Next Steps:

While President Obama has fulfilled his promise of having the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities signed by the United States, it will now need to go through the ratification process. 

The U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations chaired by Senator John Kerry will review the Convention and among many factors, consider its implications for U.S. laws and regulations. 

Towards the end of last year, the National Council on Disability published an analysis of the gaps between the dispositions of the Convention and U.S. laws and regulations.  Asked about his opinion at the recent G3ict Steering Committee meeting, John Kemp, Chair of the G3ict Research Committee and a prominent Advocate of the Disability Rights stated his belief that those are entirely manageable. 

At the IEEE meeting in Boston last week, it also became apparent that those circumstances may in fact constitute an opportunity in the specific field of ICT accessibility: lots of technology advances have occurred over the past few years and many more solutions exist today in the field of digital accessibility and assistive technologies which could benefit from a fresh look at current dispositions.
From a global perspective, the United States are a very important player in the ICT industry and in the area of ICT accessibility in particular. At a time when many countries look towards adopting new ICT accessibility policies and programs, the United States may be in a position to adopt innovative assistive and accessible technologies programs and solutions as part of President Obama's ambitious program. And with the Convention calling for international cooperation to promote new solutions, all stakeholders could benefit: disabled persons around the world, the ICT industry, standard development organizations, large users of ICT applications, employers and education institutions among many.  

In this context, President Obama's mention of technology, employment and education is a promising indicator of what the near future may hold for ICT accessibility programs and innovations in the United States.  A very encouraging sign indeed which all G3ict Stakeholders from around the world very much welcome.




Ingrid M. Kanics, Director of Therapy Services at Hattie Larlham, will be presenting an online training on Accessible Playspaces. The training will occur on July 29th at 4pm, and it is open to the general public free of charge.  Please read below for more information and consider joining us.  Register for this Hot Topics in Play event at kaboom.org/webinars


**Ingrid M. Kanics

Accessible Playspaces**


We hear the term "universal design" a lot these days, but do we really know what that means when we are creating and redesigning accessible play and recreational environments?

In this presentation we will explore what these principles can really look like children's museums, playgrounds and recreational areas.  Through the use of photos and stories, the presenter will share practical applications of these 7 principles that can be seen in a variety of different play and recreational environments that exist around the country and beyond.  Many of these ideas are simpler that you might think.

Other areas of consideration in the environment will be discussed as well.  Concepts of design which would support a child with different sensory needs and cognitive skills will be explored.  These include considerations of colors, sounds, and layout as well as safety considerations like fencing and line of site.  Again, photo examples will show how others have incorporated simple ideas to create better access for all to play together.



Because it is the lazy part of summer here and the heat may be sapping some people's imagination or motivation to get out we offer some ideas you may not have considered:

Hit the seas: Charter an amazing accessble yacht like Argyll from Waypoint Yacht Charter Services


Hit the concrete: See if you have the same "bounce" as Aaron

Hit the road: Trek through India

Find more photos like this on Tour Watch

Hit the rack: Go camping in a tent that fits because of the ingenuity of Blue Sky Designs

India is the largest democracy in the world - and democracy survives on citizen participation.

India also has emerged as a leader in the world of computers and internet technologies - modern enablers of democratic participation.

The government of India has instituted  very simple marriage of technology and government accountability to the people - a digital "Suggestion and Complaints Box".

For Indian travelers this can be important since the Passport Office. Sometimes it can be effective in helping someone get out their front door and across the road:

Government of India has an online Grievance forum at
Couple of months back, the Faridabad Municipal Corporation laid new roads
in his area and the residents were very happy about it. But 2 weeks
later, BSNL dug up the newly laid roads to install new cables which
annoyed all the residents. A resident used the above listed grievance
forum to highlight his concern. To his surprise, BSNL and Municipal
Corporation of Faridabad were served a show cause notice and the guy
received a copy of the notice in one week. Government has asked the MC
and BSNL about the goof up as it's clear that both the government
departments were not in sync at all.

The govt. wants people to use this tool to highlight the problems they
faced while dealing with Government officials or departments like:

1) Railways
2) Posts
3) Telecom (incl. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) & Mahanagar
Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL )
4) Urban Development ( Delhi Development Authority (DDA) , Land &
Development Office (L&DO) , Central Public Works Department (CPWD) , etc)
5) Petroleum & Natural Gas
6) Civil Aviation ( Air India , Airports Authority of India , etc)
7) Shipping , Road Transport & Highways
8) Tourism
9) Public Sector Banks
Allahabad Bank Andhra Bank Bank of Baroda Bank of India Bank of
Maharashtra Canara Bank Central Bank of India Corporation Bank
Dena Bank Indian Bank Indian Overseas Bank Industrial Development
Bank of India Ltd National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development
Oriental Bank of Commerce Punjab & Sind Bank Punjab National Bank
Small Industries Development Bank of India State Bank of Bikaner &
Jaipur State Bank of Hyderabad State Bank of India State Bank of
Indore State Bank of Mysore State Bank of Patiala State Bank of
Travancore Syndicate Bank UCO Bank Union Bank of India United Bank
of India Vijaya Bank
10) Public Sector Insurance Companies
GIC of India Life Insurance Corporation of India National Insurance
Company Ltd. The New India Assurance Company Ltd. The Oriental
Insurance Company Ltd. United India Insurance Company Ltd.
11) National Saving Scheme of Ministry of Finance
12) Employees' Provident Fund Organization
13) Regional Passport Authorities
Regional Passport Office, Ahemadabad Regional Passport Office, Amritsar
Regional Passport Office, Bangalore Regional Passport Office, Bareilly
Regional Passport Office, Bhopal Regional Passport Office, Bhubaneswar
Regional Passport Office, Chandigarh Regional Passport Office, Chennai
Regional Passport Office, Cochin Regional Passport Office, Coimbatore
Regional Passport Office, Dehradun Regional Passport Office, Delhi
Regional Passport Office, Ghaziabad Regional Passport Office, Goa
Regional Passport Office, Guwahati Regional Passport Office, Hyderabad
Regional Passport Office, Jaipur Regional Passport Office, Jalandhar
Regional Passport Office, Jammu Regional Passport Office, Kolkata
Regional Passport Office, Kozhikode Regional Passport Office, Lucknow
Regional Passport Office, Madurai Regional Passport Office, Malappuram
Regional Passport Office, Mumbai Regional Passport Office, Nagpur
Regional Passport Office, Patna Regional Passport Office, Pune
Regional Passport Office, Raipur Regional Passport Office, Ranchi
Regional Passport Office, Shimla Regional Passport Office, Srinagar
Regional Passport Office, Surat Regional Passport Office, Thane
Regional Passport Office, Trichy Regional Passport Office, Trivandrum
Regional Passport Office, Visakhapatnam
14) Central Government Health Scheme
15) Central Board of Secondary Education
16) Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan
17) National Institute of Open Schooling
18) Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti
19) Central Universities
20) ESI Hospitals and Dispensaries directly controlled by ESI Corporation
under Ministry of Labour

Appreciation to Niranjan Khatri for this news item

Disability News India has picked up a story of technology that enables travel:

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28: Two enterprising Malaysians have developed a mobile service that eases several problems faced by disabled people when they travel.

The service, based on cellphone technology, helps disabled people locate facilities reserved for them, such as dedicated parking lots, wheelchair ramps or other specially tailored entrances.

For now, the service is only for London but it can be applied to any city that has a cellular network, said one of the two Malaysians, Taufik Abdullah.

Taufik, who is president of mobile content developer Billadam.com, and CEO Amir Muhamad collaborated with London-based mapping company, the A-Z Map Company Ltd, to develop the service.

According to Amir, they decided to start developing the service for Britain because that country already has a mature smartphone market.

Also, he said, because about 20% of the British population are disabled and has a disposable income of about '80bil in total.
Full story:

Dia Nacional de Luta' - 21 de setembro
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O Espaço Novo Ser - ENS é uma instituição sem fins lucrativos cuja missão é a luta pelo respeito e a valorização da Cidadania das pessoas com deficiência, de forma a promover os seus direitos, a equalização das oportunidades e a superação dos obstáculos sociais predominantes ao processo de Inclusão.

De uma idéia trazida pelo músico Marcelo Yuka e inspirada na Passeata realizada pelo Movimento Superação em SP, surgiu a iniciativa de promover em plena zona sul do Rio de Janeiro, na orla de Copacabana, uma caminhada/show em prol do movimento sócioinclusivo da Pessoa com Deficiência, em função do seu 'Dia Nacional de Luta' - 21 de setembro. A primeira edição do Superação Rio ocorreu em 2008 e foi um grande sucesso.

O ENS tem o prazer de convidá-los para a II Reunião Aberta de preparação para a passeata "Superação Rio 2009", evento que neste ano será realizado no dia 20 de setembro.

A reunião tem como objetivo consolidar parcerias e definir estratégias para o sucesso do evento. Para isso, é necessário a união de esforços e o envolvimento dos principais agentes do segmento PcD e da sociedade em geral em prol do fortalecimento do movimento socioinclusivo.

A I Reunião Aberta contou com a importante participação de representantes de empresas, entidades públicas e do 3º setor. Aguardamos também a sua participação!

Data: 31 de julho

Hora: 14:30

Local: Universidade Estácio de Sá - Campus Tom Jobim, Barra da Tijuca, sala 207


Espaço Novo Ser - Acessibilidade Plena e Inclusão Social

Tel: 55-21-39042614





Although some may question the author's generous opinion that the Mexican government is "now at the vanguard of the disabled-rights movement in the developing world" the country's leadership certainly deserves recognition for breaking barriers to employment - and publicly challenging disability-aversion in this project:

AT THE main international airport for Mexico City, the first thing to notice is that the path from the baggage claim is lined with smiling employees guiding passengers to their taxis or connecting flights. The second is that they are all in wheelchairs.

Since the opening of a new terminal in November 2007, the airport has hired some 60 disabled, bilingual workers to serve as Mexico's face to the world. Their presence delights both passengers, who frequently offer congratulations and ask to take their picture, and their superiors. "They're professional, attentive, always in a good mood, and never miss work," says Héctor Velázquez, the airport's director.

Mr Velázquez says he first thought of seeking out disabled staff after being impressed by the performance of Jazmín Flores Martínez, a young labour lawyer suffering from severe arthritis. He instructed a subcontracting firm to take on 20 graduates of a physical and psychological training programme for the handicapped, and then tripled the programme's size upon seeing the results. The workers say they are thrilled by the public exposure--and by their respectable $550 a month salaries. "If you don't have a job, you sit at home all day thinking about what hurts," says Ms Martínez. "Now, we're independent, and people can see that our physical condition doesn't matter. They don't look at you as some strange creature any more."

See the full article:


Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

Having accurate and timely information is essential for comfort and safety when traveling. For some with hearing impairments a hearing aid is the right solution.

Here's a look by the New York times into the reality of acquiring a hearing id in the US. Take Gordon Buckwalter's experience:

...after talking with people who have benefited from aids and doing research to find a nearby audiologist, Mr. Buckwalter was ready to take the plunge.

But there was one thing he was not ready for: the $4,600 price tag.

"It's a monumental amount," Mr. Buckwalter said. "The technology is impressive, and they've certainly made a difference in my life. But the fact is, they're extremely expensive. And what I'm really surprised by is the fact that Medicare and most private insurance plans will pay only for the doctor visit to determine the need for a hearing aid, but not for the device itself.

For the full article:


Universal Design in Kalamazoo

Read about another do-it-yourself Universal Design makeover.

In the absence of widespread Visitability legislation or housing appropriate for persons with disabilities mLive.com reports on a home inclusion remodel that was completed in a remarkably rapid six months:

Having a home that's barrier-free is Debbie Griffin's No. 1 priority...

Before purchasing the home, the Griffins looked into options, from condos to assisted living. None of the options seemed right for Debbie, so they began to look for a home that could be remodeled for her needs...

After six months of remodeling using a multitude of universal-design elements and features, she's moving into her St. Joseph Township home. She will again be a homeowner as she was before suffering a stroke to her spine six years ago.


Bradt Travel Guides
Access Africa: Safaris for People with Limited Mobility

This is to let you know that my guidebook has been completed and will be available from mid-August. Thanks to everyone who contributed - I hope it helps to open adventure travel to all!

This book has been written specifically for travellers with limited mobility and covers the six major safari countries, describing access (with measurements) in nearly 300 safari properties from Kenya to Cape Town. Also included are details of:

  • Specialist tour operators
  • Flight and airport procedure
  • Travel insurance and health concerns
  • Itinerary planning
  • Equipment hire
  • Wildlife, history and other general background information

To get a taste of it, view images of accommodation and order a copy, please visit www.access-africa.co.uk. You'll also see there how you can get involved in creating an even more accessible Africa for future visitors!



Montanhas, natureza, esportes radicais, acessibilidade, sossego, diversão, compras, hospitalidade. Os atributos podem ser aplicados à cidade de Socorro, a 110 quilômetros de Campinas, no relevo montanhoso da Serra da Mantiqueira. Com grande potencial hidrográfico e relevo propício para esportes radicais, Socorro, com seus 33.080 habitantes, segundo a última estimativa do IBGE de 2007, desenvolve um programa para se tornar a primeira cidade do Brasil com acessibilidade total a pessoas portadoras de deficiências e mobilidades reduzidas. O projeto, com recursos do Ministério do Turismo, é um desafio que a cidade enfrenta com mobilização da prefeitura, hotéis e parques.

Socorro é um dos sete municípios que compõem o Circuito das Águas Paulista, com Lindoia, Amparo, Jaguariúna, Águas de Lindoia, Monte Alegre do Sul, Pedreira e Serra Negra. Destaca-se oferecendo aos visitantes um roteiro repleto de opções de turismo de aventura e acessibilidade turística para pessoas com deficiência. Ao todo, são sete os projetos especiais que estão sendo desenvolvidos, grande parte em operação. O programa é uma parceria com o Ministério do Turismo, a Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas (ABNT), a Associação Brasileira de Empresas de Turismo de Aventura e Ecoturismo (Abeta) e o Sebrae.

Outros artigos sobre Socorro na Rolling Rains Report:

REATECH Bloggers Summit on Inclusive Tourism

Brazilian Adventure Sport Holiday - Parque dos Sonhos

Geotourism Challenge Finalist is Brazilian Inclusive Tourism Specialist!

– AbleNet, Inc. is partnering with the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) to offer the first “AbleNet – ISAAC Remarkable Achievements Award.” This recognition will be awarded to an AAC professional who has achieved outstanding results by effectively using easy-tech AAC tools for individuals with communication disorders.

The award will be presented at the ISAAC 14th International Conference in Barcelona, Spain in July 2010. The winner will be awarded a USD $2,000 stipend, the honor to be a key speaker at the ISAAC Biennial Conference and receive $500 USD toward travel to the conference.

“AbleNet is a very enthusiastic partner with ISAAC in sponsoring this new award,” said Adam Wing, vice president of International Business for AbleNet, Inc. “We witness extraordinary work being done around the world with the use of these easy-tech AAC tools and it is an honor to recognize the remarkable achievements of these professionals.”

“It is exciting to sponsor this new award because it focuses on the simple, cost-effective AAC devices that can be readily adopted in developing countries,” said Shelley Deegan, Chair of the ISAAC Council. “Helping individuals with severe disability, from any economic condition, participate in social and school activities with their peers and family is core to the mission of ISAAC.”

Application Process

All ISAAC members or individuals applying for membership are eligible candidates for the award. To apply, a short essay or video in English must be submitted focusing on easy-tech AAC tools used with individuals with communications disorders and describing the impact this has had on the individuals. Additionally, two letters of recommendation explaining why the applicant should receive the award and personal background information about the applicant should be included with the essay or video. Personal background information such as a short curriculum vitae should be included.

The closing date for applications is February 1, 2010
. The application can be emailed to mona.zaccak@isaac-online.org or mailed to:

AbleNet – ISAAC Remarkable Achievements Award
ISSAC Secretariat
49 The Donway West, Suite 308
Toronto, ON M3C 3M9, Canada


The International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) works to improve the life of every adult and child with communication disorders. Founded in 1983, ISAAC has thousands of members in 50 countries. Members are people who use AAC, their families, therapists, teachers, doctors, researchers and people who make communication aids. ISAAC completes projects and provides information in hopes that AAC will be recognized, valued and used all across the world. For more information, visit www.isaac-online.org.

About AbleNet
AbleNet is an international company and industry leader in providing educational and technical solutions to help children and adults with disabilities lead productive and fulfilled lives. This includes a complete line of communication aids for nonverbal individuals; access aids, such as switches and wheelchair mounting devices for people who require physical supports; and special education classroom curriculum and software that both enhance and help ensure learning progress. The products are represented in more than 60 countries and used in hundreds of thousands of classrooms in the United States and across the globe. AbleNet is an ESOP company located in Roseville, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.ablenetinc.com .

"I am not satisfied I am proud of the progress we have made but I am not satisfied -- and I know you are not either -- until every American with a disability can learn in their local public school in the manner that's best for them," President Obama said.  "Until they can apply for a job without discrimination and live and work independently in their communities, if that is what they choose, we have got more work to do.  As long as we as a people still too easily succumb to casual discrimination or fear of the unfamiliar, we've still got more work to do."

July 24, 2009

      - - - - - - -

      Today we celebrate the 19th anniversary of the enactment of the
historic Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Signed into law on July
26, 1990, this landmark legislation established a clear mandate against
discrimination on the basis of disability so that people with
disabilities would have an equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

      Our Nation is once again poised to make history for people with
disabilities. I am proud to announce that the United States will sign
the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with
, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in New York
on December 13, 2006. The Convention is the first new human rights
convention of the 21st century adopted by the United Nations, and it
represents a paradigm shift in protecting the human rights of 650
million people with disabilities worldwide. We proudly join the
international community in further advancing the rights of people with

      As we reflect upon the past and look toward a brighter future, we
recognize that our country has made great progress. More than ever
before, Americans with disabilities enjoy greater access to technology
and economic self-sufficiency. More communities are accessible, more
children with disabilities learn alongside their peers, and more
employers recognize the capabilities of people with disabilities.

      Despite these achievements, much work remains to be done. People
with disabilities far too often lack the choice to live in communities
of their choosing; their unemployment rate is much higher than those
without disabilities; they are much likelier to live in poverty; health
care is out of reach for too many; and too many children with
disabilities are denied a world-class education.

      My Administration has met these challenges head-on. We have
launched the "Year of Community Living" to help people with disabilities
live wherever they choose. We have nearly doubled the funding for the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. I was proud to sign the
groundbreaking Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act and the
Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which provides health
insurance to millions of additional children. I also lifted the ban on
stem cell more research. These measures demonstrate our commitment to
leveling the playing field for every person with a disability. My
Administration will not rest on these accomplishments, and we will
continue to focus on improving the lives of people with disabilities. I
encourage States, localities, and communities across the country to
cultivate an environment in which the 54 million Americans living with a
disability are valued and respected.

      Americans have repeatedly affirmed the importance of protecting
the human rights and dignity of every member of this great country.
Through the steps we have taken, we will continue to build on the ADA
and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to promoting, protecting, and
ensuring the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms
by people with disabilities.

      NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of
America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 26, 2009, as the
Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I call on Americans
across our country to celebrate the progress we have made in protecting
the civil rights of people with disabilities and to recognize the step
forward we make with the signing of the United Nations Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Inspired by the advances of the
last 19 years, let us commit to greater achievements in the years ahead.

      IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth
day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and


O Assim Vivemos 2009 - 4º Festival Internacional de Filmes sobre Deficiência será realizado de 04 a 16 de agosto no Rio de Janeiro, de 25 de agosto a 06 de setembro em Brasília e de 07 a 18 de outubro em São Paulo, no Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil.

O Festival Assim Vivemos é bienal e teve sua primeira edição realizada em 2003, no Rio de Janeiro e em Brasília.

Desde então, o festival proporciona todas as acessibilidades nas sessões dos filmes: audiodescrição (descrição de tudo o que aparece na imagem dos filmes e que não pode ser entendido apenas pelo áudio), legendas com Closed Caption (inclusive nos filmes brasileiros) e interpretação em LIBRAS dos debates.
Em duas semanas, exibiremos 24 filmes de 13 países, em diversos horários. Também serão realizados quatro
debates sobre temas específicos, congregando pessoas com deficiência, profissionais especializados, professores
universitários, diretores de cinema, entre outros.
Alguns destaques dessa edição:

Eu era surdo e não sabia, da França, e Vozes de El Sayed, de Israel,
sobre questões relativas à surdez.
Somos todos Daniel, do Canadá, filme que nos apresenta uma turma de adolescentes autistas que cantam, dançam e interpretam.
As políticas públicas de inclusão e acessibilidade aquecem o debate em filmes como Ofensas verbais, dos Estados Unidos, Omar, você aceita minha deficiência?, da França e As autoridades estão sempre certas, do Reino Unido.
O humor se faz presente em Blues da Moça Cega,
dos Estados Unidos e em Os Marginais, do Reino Unido.

E muito mais. Filmes da Coréia do Sul, Armênia,
Noruega, Rússia, França, Argentina,
numa programação que compõe um impressionante painel multicultural.

Pedimos ainda especial atenção para os quatro excelentes filmes brasileiros selecionados:

Sentidos à Flor da Pele,de Evaldo Mocarzel,
Pindorama, de Roberto Berliner, Lula Queiroga e Leo Crivellare,
Dreznica, de Anna Azevedo
O Vôo da Cegonha, de Laly Cataguases.
Todas as sessões terão ENTRADA FRANCA.
Veja a programação completa no site: www.assimvivemos.com.br
PATROCÍNIO: Banco do Brasil
PRODUÇÃO: Lavoro Produções
DIREÇÃO: Lara Pozzobon

Background on today's breaking news as President Obama prepares to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

The Obama administration can use the opportunity of signing and submitting to the Senate for ratification the Convention as a means of reaffirming the commitment of the United States rejoining the global community generally, and to continuing American leadership in the area of disability law and policy. Hence, action on the CRPD would signal support for the human rights efforts that we already fund and facilitate beyond our borders.  

Finally, the CRPD represents a break from the well-worn and misconceived Cold-War era split between economic, social, and cultural rights on the one hand, and civil and political rights on the other. In expressing the connections between different human rights, in part through the expression of the U.S. disability rights concept of reasonable accommodation, the Convention offers a new way to conceptualize the whole field of human rights.


July 23, 2009


Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Applauds U.S. Decision to Sign the Treaty on Disability Rights


Washington, D.C. - The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) joins the broader human rights and disability communities in expressing appreciation for President Obama's decision to sign the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

The purpose of the CRPD is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.  Members of CCD wrote the previous administration in March 2008 encouraging the United States to join the growing number of nations in signing this important treaty. 

"Through this signature, President Obama restores the United States to a position of leadership in the area of disability and human rights, joining 140 other nations who have already signed the Convention," stated Marty Ford, Chairperson of CCD and director of legal advocacy at The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy Disability Policy Collaboration.

"CCD and the disability community view this as a symbol of President Obama's commitment to true equality for individuals with disabilities and will be working closely with the Administration and Congress to secure ratification," said David Hutt, Co-Chair of the CCD International Task Force and an attorney with the National Disability Rights Network.

CCD urges the U.S. Senate to quickly consider and ratify the treaty and fully restore the United States to a global leadership position on disability and human rights.  The Convention is already consistent with many U.S. laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and ratification will better ensure protection of disability rights into the future.

CCD is a coalition of over 100 national consumer, advocacy, provider and professional organizations working together to advocate for national public policy that ensures the self determination, independence, empowerment, integration and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of society.

CCD International Task Force 

David Hutt, Co-Chair               (202) 408-9514 x.129  David.Hutt@ndrn.org

Day Al-Mohamed, Co-Chair    (202) 336-6061            DWilliamsAl-Mohamed@apa.org


On Friday 24 July, US President Barack Obama makes good on his election promise to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, bringing the USA into the group of countries that support this landmark document.

On behalf of ENAT, Mr. Ivor Ambrose, Managing Director, sent a letter of congratulation to President Obama, noting the example of the US in advancing disability rights, and expressing the importance of working internationally towards fulfilment of the Convention's Article 30, which addresses equal access to leisure and tourism.

The letter states: "Recognising the importance of the USA's example in promoting disabled access during the past two decades, Europe - as a co-signatory of the UN Declaration - looks forward to working together with US public, private and non-governmental organisations in pursuit of our shared goals, making the USA and the world accessible for all  tourists". 

The European Union has ratified the UN Declaration and many countries (though not all EU Member States) have also signed the Convention's 'optional protocol' which allows for disabled people to report grievances against their country to the UN Convention's Monitoring Committee. 



Celebrating the U.S. Signing of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

July 23, 2009

Chestertown, New York

The Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (CHRUSP) is proud to share the news that President Barack Obama will officially declare his intention to sign the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at the White House on Friday, July 24, 2009.  President Obama's campaign promises included his commitment to sign and ratify the CRPD and we are very pleased that he is honoring his promise to sign the CRPD - a milestone in the advancement of the human rights of persons with disabilities in the United States. 

The United States has been a leader in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities and by signing and ratifying the CRPD, US participation at the UN will contribute to the promotion of human rights for the more than 600 million persons with disabilities around the world. 

Tina Minkowitz, the President of the Board of CHRUSP, played a significant role in negotiations on the text of the CRPD in advocating for the rights of users and survivors of psychiatry as well as the rights of all persons with disabilities.  She was a leading member of the International Disability Caucus, the group of international disability rights activists that participated in the UN negotiations under the banner "Nothing About Us Without Us".

"We look forward to a speedy ratification without reservations, understandings or declarations, particularly ones addressed to specific rights or non-discrimination," said Ms. Minkowitz.  "We also look forward to continued progress in attending to human rights at home under this administration."

The actual signing of the treaty will take place at the UN headquarters where Susan Rice, the United States Ambassador to the UN, will officially sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on July 30, 2009 in New York City.

For further information, please contact:

Tina Minkowitz, 646-873-0224/518-494-0174

Myra Kovary, 607-277-3485

Tina Minkowitz, Esq.
Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry
44 Palmer Pond Rd.
Chestertown, NY  12817  USA

ENAT Congratulates Obama on Signing UN Disability Convention

Obama's Chance to Lead: Sign the Disability Treaty

Ratify the UN Disability Treaty

President Obama to sign a UN treaty

Teleconference on travel, disability, and assistive technology Friday July 24, 2009 at Noon Pacific Time (California). Note that the toll free number ( 1 800 363 8564 ) only works in the US.


Over at Disaboom Jeff Burley shares his travel experience in Accessible Travel and the Paralympic Movement:

Over the past six years, I have accompanied my wife during several international trips to about 20 different countries on five different continents. She lives with complete thoracic 5/6 paraplegia and utilizes a wheelchair for mobility. Without many plans, we have wandered around the globe experiencing the good, the bad and the ugly.

Visit Paralympic Cities

One of the best pieces of advice I can give anyone with a disability traveling to an international destination for the first time is to visit a country that has hosted a recent Paralympic Games. You may be able to have a great experience in many countries, but attitudes and access seem to be best in countries following the Games, although at times the experience in any country--even your own--may not be perfect.


From Sri Lanka:

In early July, millions of people in the country, including thousands of disabled soldiers, may get the hearing they have been waiting for, when the Supreme Court hears a Fundamental Human Rights petition brought before it. It will be the opportunity to ensure access with dignity, like everybody else, to the country's public buildings and spaces, and thereby, assist them to integrate productively into society.

Not so long ago, a friend of mine was attending a function at a five-star hotel in the city. Inevitably, as happens at such long events, he needed to heed the call of nature. When he asked the staff where the bathroom was, he was discretely handed two plastic bottles; the bathroom in this lavish hotel could not accommodate him in his wheelchair.

And, while my friend was busy figuring out just what he should do with those bottles, my husband and I were busy wondering which restaurant we could go to with some of our elderly friends, whose previously agile legs did not move them about quite like they used to. We were discovering there were very few places where there was no risk of falling down stairs or tripping over broken pavements.
For the full story:

Green Maps

Announcement from Green Maps:

Green Map Impacts, is now available. Featuring fascinating illustrated narratives by local Green Mapmakers in 10 countries, this colorful book shows how the outcomes our work reach far beyond the map's borders and deep into the community, all around the world!

Buy a copy online at GreenMap.org/store and support the movement. Or download our 30 page book free at GreenMap.org/impacts and share it with those who need inspiration and ignite their passion for sustainable, climate smart living. Special thanks to our colleagues at Green Map Japan and Green Map Aichi, as well as to each author of this book's 18 diverse short stories.

Open Green Map Reaches 5,000 Green Sites

At Green Map System, it has been a thrilling few weeks since we launched the Open Green Map and held great events in 13 cities in 10 countries! Hundreds of engaged participants, mayoral proclamations and coverage in all forms of media on 5 continents were among the many happy outcomes. We created a Launch Around the Clock report to help you experience the highlights - click here and enjoy.

The launch was just the beginning! In addition to new green sites and new maps being added on a daily basis, we have added a slew of resources for sharing and promoting this interactive social mapping platform. Want a slideshow or video? Classroom or mapping party guide? Flowchart or icon poster? Thanks to forward-thinking supporters, we have great ways to engage people in your community!

We are discovering how much value we have created as fresh responses come in every day. Here is one example: "The OGM has been a fantastic resource for training and volunteer opportunities. I find that the people I work with on it get really passionate about using Green Map, I've even had two volunteers tell me that they've been loading information on at 4 am!" emailed by Kathy Tate, Project Officer, Sustainable Swansea UK.

Recently honored in the Cause/Affect social design competition, OGM continues to add features. We are particularly excited about our forthcoming mobile phone website and content sharing tools! Open Green Map needs your support to keep making a greater difference to more people every day.

Hands-on Student Internships in NYC

So many students requested summer 2009 Green Map internships that we created a 'semi-independent' internship. Led by Andrew Fenster, a junior at Oberlin College, this training and mentorship program is supporting 7 interns creating their own local Green Maps over an 8-week period this summer, culminating in an exchange of outcomes on August 14th. Follow the story on the project's Blog. Working with Andrew and Bob Zuber, our longtime consultant, we'll be creating a guide for other Green Mapmakers who want to replicate the project locally, too.

The Impacts book is available online (6MB download) 

It is with a sense of pride for my professional colleague and friend Joedson Nunes ("Nunes") that I am able to announce that his entry to the Ashoka Changemaker's 2009 Geotourism Challenge is one of ten finalists.
Even before I noticed that Nunes and his partner at Reality Tours, Solange Barbosa, the project, Route of Freedom - Cultural Tourism collaborating to the "Memory of the African Diaspora in Brazil" captured my imagination:

The Route of Freedom is a Touristic Circuit developed in the region of Vale do Paraiba, North Coast and Mantiqueira Mountains, which maps the paths of black Africans and their descendants in the formation of these regions' cultures. According to a tourism project that follows Unesco's orientations in its worldwide project "Slave Route."

Now is the time to vote in the 2009 Geotourism Challenge.

You will find this project listed in English as "Reality Tour Viagens e Turismo Ltda, Brazil."

As Solange and Nunes are able to provide details and photos we will add them here at the Rolling Rains Report.

Since the project organizers participate in our Brazilian Inclusive Tourism network, Rede Turismo para Todos, and the goal of the project is to make a fully inclusive tourism product* I encourage those who find this trip of interest to check back at at RollingRains.com for dates of a guided tour including Scott Rains or others who have been regularly featured in the Rolling Rains Report.

* Note that Nunes' Reality Tour arranged the highly successful May 008 familiarization tour of Parque dos Sonhos for Inclusive Tourism delegates to the REATECH Conference. Click here for Craig Grimes' video of the 1 km zipline:


Related posts:

O Projeto Rota da Liberdade

Vote in the Geotourism Challenge

Reality Tour Takes You to Socorro, Brazil

REATECH Bloggers Summit on Inclusive Tourism

Prescisa trasporte acessivel em São Paulo? Chame Happy Life Vans Executivas Adaptadas:

Transporte em Vans Adaptadas para pessoas com mobilidade reduzida (em cadeira de rodas, manual ou motorizada), Vans com ar condicionado, CD, insulfilm e adaptação de um elevador automatico. (fotos no album)

- Transfers para Aeroportos de Congonhas / Guarulhos / Viracopos.
- Transfers para Eventos / Congressos / Feiras / etc.
- Transfers para Hospitais / Clínicas / Fisioterapias.Outubro 2008.JPG
- City-tour em São Paulo / Santos.
- Viagens para todo o interior de S.Paulo / RJ / PR / MG

Materias sobre a Happy Life no sites da Globo.com e Folha online de SP


Reportagem de Leonardo Feder.


Reportagem de Eduardo Camara.

Nossa comunidade: http://www.orkut.com.br/Community.aspx?cmm=59911657&refresh=1

Maiores informações:
Tel.: (11) 2506-3440 e (11) 2506-3442 , de segunda a sexta das 08:30 h às 17:30 h;
Cel.: (11) 8154-1444 24h

Ou visite nosso site:


Award for Adolf Ratzka

Adolf Ratzka.jpgOne day after Sweden assumed the EU Presidency, Stefan Prystawik, EU Coordinator of the European Anti-Discrimination Council - EAC will come to Stockholm to present the 2008 European Citizen Award to Dr Adolf Ratzka of the Independent Living Institute.

The European Anti-Discrimination Council dedicates its annual European Citizen Award to honor extraordinary achievements with eliminating discriminatory living conditions over an extended period of time by outstanding members of society. Adolf Ratzka received the award in 2008, honoring his successful initiatives for a self-determined life of persons with disabilities over many decades.

Because the benchmark report, "The Implementation Status of DGCA CAR 'Carriage by Air of Persons with Disability' " may be difficult to read in the format below it is also available as a Word document Implementation Status - DGCA CAR on Carriage of PWD.doc

Airline Civil Rights - India -

Caros amigos,

Nunes.jpg Informo que o Projeto Rota da Liberdade, do qual faco, foi selecionado entre os 10 melhores projetos do mundo e o unico da America do Sul, como ideia inovadora no turismo, atraves do Geoturism Changemakers.

O Projeto Rota da Liberdade mostra atraves da historia, da cultura, da arquitetura e da gastronomia a influencia Afro-Brasileira nos destinos turisticos. O projeto conta ainda com a implementacao de Acessibilidade para pessoas com deficiencia nos roteiros da Rota da Liberdade.

Para que o projeto seja eleito entre os tres melhores, as pessoas precisam acessar o site http://geotourism.changemakers.com/es/node/18015/vote , e se cadastrarem para receber o usuario e a senha em seus e-mails e depois poder acessar o site novamente para votar nos projetos. O projeto esta cadastrado como ROTA DA LIBERDADE - "Dever De Memória da Diáspora Africana no Brasil" Reality Tour Viagens e Turismo - Brasil Espero poder contar com a ajuda de todos.


Coordenador Internacional da Rota da Liberdade
Turismo Adaptado


Joedson Nunes - Europa
Phone: (0044) 020 7701 0934
Mobile: (0044) 075 0596 9717
Address: 109, Mary Datchelor Close - London - SE5 7DY
MSN e Email: nunes_op@hotmail.com

Solange Barbosa - Brasil
Phone: 55 (12) 3672-3427
Address: Rua Bom Jesus, 183 - Centro - Tremembe - SP
E-mail: realitytour@uol.com.br
Site: www.realitytour.com.br --

Turismo Adaptado turismo@turismoadaptado.com.br

The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation works to help young people with physical, mental, or learning disabilities to lead full and productive lives.

The MEAF Inclusion Champion Award honors individuals who have made significant efforts to promote the full inclusion of youth with disabilities in society. The focus of the efforts may include, but is not limited to, helping to create a culture of inclusion within an organization or community or developing innovative strategies for inclusive programming in school activities, after-school programs, community service, and leadership development.

The Inclusion Champion is selected each year by a panel of experts in the field, and is presented during the Kids Included Together annual conference. The award consists of a trophy and $1,000 donated to the charity of the awardee's choice.

Criteria for selection include evidence that the nominee's efforts have changed attitudes, increased inclusion, made a measurable impact on the lives of young people with and without disabilities, and promoted sustainability of inclusion outcomes.

Visit the MEAF Web site for complete nomination materials.

Link to Complete RFP

Link to the .pdf booklet "Paths to Inclusion"

Paths to Inclusion -

(Lusa) - Os seis municípios do Vale do Sousa vão avançar com um Plano de
 Promoção da Acessibilidade aos 26 monumentos românicos da região, disse hoje
 à Lusa o presidente da Comunidade Urbana do Tâmega e Sousa, Alberto Santos.
 "Queremos ser a primeira região do país com uma rota de monumentos
 reconhecida internacionalmente pela sua boa acessibilidade", afirmou o
 Alberto Santos, que falava numa conferência de imprensa promovida hoje na
 Igreja Românica de Vila Verde,em Felgueiras, explicou que vai ser realizado
 até ao final do ano um levantamento das necessidades para se melhorar a
 acessibilidade dos diferentes monumentos, entre os quais mosteiros, igrejas
 e pontes.
 A ideia é fazer pequenas intervenções, como colocação de rampas e alteração
 das quotas de soleiras, para facilitar o acesso às pessoas como mobilidade
 reduzida, incluindo idosos, crianças e grávidas.
 Alberto Santos lembrou que os idosos são os que mais visitam este tipo de
 monumentos, justificando-se, por isso, criar condições para facilitar o
 acesso pedonal.
 "Ao longo dos últimos 10 anos foram intervencionados quase todos os
 monumentos do românico no Vale do Sousa, recuperando muito do que estava
 degradado. Agora queremos passar para a fase seguinte, fazendo melhoramentos
 pontuais, mas que serão muito importantes para atrair mais gente ao nosso
 património românico", afirmou o autarca de Penafiel.
 Para tal - acrescenta o edil - foi criada uma equipa multidisciplinar para
 fazer um trabalho tão rigoroso quanto possível, no sentido de se encontrar
 as melhores soluções técnicas e arquitectónicas "que não ponham em causa a
 natureza de monumentos nacionais com centenas de anos de existência".
 Este trabalho vai decorrer até ao final de 2009, seguindo-se a realização
 das obras, o que deverá ocorrer no âmbito de candidaturas a apresentar à
 União Europeia.
 Em paralelo, já está a decorrer, também no quadro deste Plano de Promoção de
, outro conjunto de acções que visam facilitar a
 acessibilidade à página na Internet da Rota do Românico, incluindo a sua
 A brochura oficial da rota vai também ser disponibilizada em escrita
 adequada a invisuais (Braille), enquanto que o vídeo oficial também será
 legendado e dotado de linguagem gestual.
 Alberto Santos acredita que a melhoria das acessibilidades aos monumentos e
 a meios de promoção e divulgação da Rota do Românico vai atrair mais
 pessoas, ajudando a dinamizar o turismo da região.
 O autarca deu alguns exemplos, nomeadamente a cidade espanhola de Palencia,
 onde graças às melhorias da acessibilidade aumentou significativamente o
 número de visitantes.
 Os 26 monumentos que integram a Rota do Românico do Vale do Sousa,
 espalhados pelos concelhos de Felgueiras, Lousada, Paços de Ferreira,
 Penafiel, Paredes e Castelo de Paiva, são visitados todos os anos por
 milhares de pessoas em grupo organizados ou de forma espontânea.
 Também muitas escolas da região têm promovido visitas, envolvendo muitas
 centenas de alunos.
 Fonte -

O Plano de Promoção da Acessibilidade vai procurar envolver as populações, as associações e as entidades locais de modo a inserir dinâmicas capazes de manter este desígnio cívico de integração na agenda de trabalho de toda a comunidade.
Outra componente deste Plano passa também pela dinamização de acções de formação e sensibilização dirigidas a técnicos envolvidos na protecção, valorização e gestão do património histórico, técnicos da administração local, técnicos/profissionais ligados às áreas dos transportes, do comércio, do turismo e da acção social, estudantes, entre outros. Uma dessas acções, denominada "Acessibilidade e Património", já decorreu em Junho e contou com a participação de meia centena de formandos.




Ashoka Fellow Caroline Casey

In this Social Edge interview from Skoll Foundation's Global X series Caroline Casey talks about confronting "super-crip syndrome" in her own life and describes the loneliness of disability denial . In a moving "coming of age story," she recounts her dreams and motivation in forming the Aisling Foundation (Kanchi Foundation)

Spokane in Washington State may not (yet?) be on your list of "Top 10 Must-See Destinations" but it happens to be high on my list as the city where family attended university.

It also lies close to my aging father's favorite hunting and fishing sites - and he has just asked me (from his lonely hospital room) to find him a comfortable "cabin on a lake with its own dock" where we can enjoy some quiet time in nature together.

So it is personally moving to me to see the following report on the work of Brian Beyer. Not only is Brian doing a service to the Inland Northwest by introducing a concrete example of Universal Design in homes but his motivation was personal - his own father.

Now to quickly find that Universally Designed cabin on a lake somewhere in the Northwest.

Enjoy this clip from KXLY 4:

It is fortunately the case that stories of overt resistance to inclusion of persons with disabilities have become less common in past decades. Yet, injustice still surfaces and actions such as the one described by a former councillor with a disability in Petaling Jaya:

A group of disabled people has hit back at the critics of the universal design pavement being built in Jalan Gasing. 
Calling the RM180,000 pavement a move in the right direction, they described it as a long-overdue necessity.

"The disabled don't need sympathy, they need help. In the past, we had to fight for job opportunities and the right to use public transport," said former Petaling Jaya councillor, T. Anthony, who led the group of over 20 disabled people to view the pavement and speak up on the importance of having such facilities.
"But the key problem remains -- access for the disabled. The disabled don't just go to the hospitals, they have lives to live.

The full story:

Reortaje desde Polibea Turismo:

Fundación Handisport impulsa y facilita, mediante la práctica del deporte, la inclusión social de las personas con alguna discapacidad.

Buceo. Pulsar para ampliar imagenEl proyecto de la Fundación Handisport nace hace ya casi dos años por la iniciativa de un grupo de personas que desean aportar soluciones a algunos de los problemas que plantea la inclusión de las personas con alguna discapacidad en nuestra sociedad.

La creación de esta entidad sin ánimo de lucro se convierte en el medio para conseguir ese objetivo genérico inicial.

Localizada en Mallorca, en el término municipal de Calvià, la Fundación Handisport , impulsa y facilita la inclusión social de las personas con alguna discapacidad a través de la práctica deportiva, tanto de residentes como de no residentes y de esta manera pretende convertirse en referencia a nivel internacional.

Buceo. Pulsar para ampliar imagenCon una actitud transparente, con profesionalidad e ilusión ponemos al alcance de las personas con alguna discapacidad la posibilidad de practicar deporte. Contamos con los profesionales más preparados y motivados para que la seguridad en la práctica deportiva sea máxima. Ponemos a disposición de los participantes material deportivo adaptado de última generación.


La sede de Handisport está en Mallorca y por eso, algunas de las actividades que podrán disfrutar nuestros visitantes están relacionadas con el mar y el entorno natural.

Vela. Pulsar para ampliar imagen•  Buceo: permite una máxima integración puesto que las barreras desaparecen permitiendo una gran libertad de movimientos que en tierra no se pueden realizar.

•  Vela: realizar este deporte al aire libre de forma continuada mejora la psicomotricidad, la coordinación y la integración social dentro de un nuevo grupo.


Esquí náutico. Pulsar para ampliar imagen•  Piragüismo: actividad muy completa en la que se ponen en funcionamiento los músculos más importantes del cuerpo lo que posibilita una mejora en la tonicidad general del usuario.

•  Esquí náutico: actividad que permite a la persona discapacitada superarse a sí mismo siendo además una actividad que puede hacer junto a familiares o amigos.

Pero también ofrecemos la posibilidad de practicar otros deportes que no tienen relación con el medio marino:

•  Actividades ecuestres : se realizan al aire libre, en contacto con la naturaleza y los animales, en un entorno natural y relajado.

•  Golf: este deporte mejora la psicomotricidad fina y gruesa, la capacidad de concentración, la coordinación ojo-mano, el tono muscular y la integración social en un grupo nuevo y en autoestima.

•  Senderismo: se realiza al aire libre, en un entorno incomparable y en unas condiciones de total independencia en las que además se pueden admirar rutas paisajísticas de gran riqueza.

•  Blokart: consiste en realizar vela en tierra. Se realiza en un triciclo dotado de una vela con un gran grado de seguridad, obteniéndose un alto grado de satisfacción personal.

•  Rutas 4x4: con las mismas características que el senderismo pero con los novedosos vehículos individuales Superfour de Otto Bock.

Más información:

Polideportivo Municipal de Magaluf
Miño s/n. 07181 Calvià. Mallorca
Tel. +34 971 132 268 / 577
Fax +34 971 130 702



Vote in the Geotourism Challenge

Voting has begun for the Geotourism Challenge. Check out the top 10 competition entries and cast your vote before August 12th.


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To vote: http://geotourism.changemakers.com/geotourismchallenge

Jeddah Plans Accessibilty

A three-day workshop began at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) on Saturday with 33 government departments and the Human Rights Commission participating to discuss ways of making existing public and private buildings disabled-friendly.

Muhammad Al-Fadhl, chairman of the JCCI board of directors, expressed the chamber's readiness to cooperate with all concerned departments to cater to the needs of disabled people .

"Disabled people should be given the utmost care and attention to help them integrate into society and not feel isolated," he said, adding that the workshop would consider all of the needs of disabled people and the hurdles they face when entering public buildings.

Al-Fadhl added that discussions would also include ways of making new buildings that are currently under construction disabled-friendly. "Disabled people are getting increased attention from government and private departments and now 3-4 percent of the total employees in these two sectors are disabled. This is also a result of the programs launched by the Kingdom's chambers of commerce and industry," he said.

He added that one of these programs was started jointly by the JCCI and the Savola Group three years ago.

He also said a permanent office to promote the employment of disabled people was opened adjacent to the JCCI three years ago. Mustafa Sabri, secretary-general of the JCCI, said representatives of the traffic police, engineers, architects, contractors and consultants are participating in the workshop.

He also said the JCCI would rehabilitate 300 buildings in Jeddah over the next eight months with a view to making them suitable for the use of the physically challenged.

He added that owners of important buildings, which are expected to be visited by disabled people , would be supplied with plans showing them how to make their buildings disabled-friendly.

He also said equipment to make buildings disabled-friendly are sold at six or seven places in Saudi Arabia. "The JCCI will import such apparatus from abroad for distribution free of charge or at reasonable prices," he said.

Meanwhile, the National Commercial Bank, the Takaful Welfare Organization and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Call and Guidance jointly launched a project to make 20 mosques in Jeddah disabled-friendly.

Ulfat Qabbani, head of the JCCI's Social Responsibility Department, discussed the problems facing disabled people in the workplace, and when entering buildings, offices and mosques. Sultan lauds charities caring for disabled people

Meanwhile in Riyadh, Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) and chairman of disabled people Children's Association (DCA), commended on Saturday the role of charitable organizations in taking care of disabled people.

Addressing a Human Rights Commission (HRC) meeting in Riyadh, the prince spoke about DCA activities and the Prince Salman Center for Handicap Research, as well as SCTA efforts in creating more job opportunities for Saudis.

Bandar Al-Aiban, president of HRC, briefed the prince on his organization's efforts in providing necessary care to disabled people in line with instructions from government departments.

"We also ensure government directives and regulations in protecting the rights of disabled people are implemented," Al-Aiban said.

Referring to efforts to take care of such people, he said the government organized a conference on disability to set out an Arab and international plan for them. "The HRC serves all groups of people, including disabled people , whom we consider an important section of our society," he said.

He said the government has established a number of specialized centers to take care of disabled people and give them education and training.

They are also given scholarship to continue their studies inside and outside the Kingdom. The government also provides job opportunities to these people.

Source: http://www.arabnews.com/

Inclusion By Design

I am very pleased to announce the update launch of Rosanne Ramos' "Inclusion by Design" !

See her jump with both feet into the intrnational discussion of Universal Design, Assistive Technology, Customized Product Design, and Inclusive Design at the link below:

The practice of universal design means understanding the experience and needs of every individual within a community... While we are aware that one size does not fit all, we are equally aware that without designing for the individual we will miss opportunities and innovations that bring us closer to a universal design solution. Inclusive Design is design for all by designing for every individual.
Source: http://www.inclusionbydesign.us

Ashoka's (Dis)ability Initiative

Ashoka has a number of influential projects. Voting has begun on the Ashoka Changemaker's Geotourism Challenge. In 2007 a project with broader application to the worldwide disability community was established -- the (Dis)Ability Initiative. It involves an impressive array of Ashoka Fellows with disabilities around the world who can be seen here.

(Dis)ability Initiative is a joint effort of top leaders in disabilities around the world. It is targeted at: 
  • exchange of experience and
  • promoting and implementing change-making innovations of Ashoka Fellows globally.

(Dis)Ability Initiative was launched in 2007 by a group of Ashoka Fellows and Staff, who understood the potential of Ashoka Fellows collaboration on disability issues. It was started by a small group of powerful leaders and a number of other Fellows later joined the effort to change the world of the disabled. A meeting in Warsaw, Poland, in March 2008, was a turning point of the initiative, where the strategy of the collaboration was worked out.

(Dis)Ability Initiative brand stands for three projects:

  • Book on best practices in disabilities
  • Ashoka Gives a Voice Website
  • Inclusion week - celebration of social inclusion of people with and without disabilities,

all three being elements of GLOBAL SOCIAL CAMPAIGN in disabilities.


Appreciation to Ashoka Changemaker's Dana Frasz and Tyler Ahn for timely notification of the abive information!


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Rolling Inspiration

An announcement from Rolling Inspiration magazine:

South African lifestyle magazine, Rolling Inspiration, Africa's only glossy magazine written by the mobility impaired for the mobility impaired encourages all prospective visitors to South Africa who have mobility limitations to visit the free section of our website.

Read our free Travel and Sport columns/articles, and make informed choices when visiting our sunny shores!

From the he John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts:

Consider participating in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' 9th Annual Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) conference and training in Washington, D.C., August 13 - 16, 2009 There is still space available for you at LEAD and the hotels have extended their discounts!

No fancy sales pitch, no special offers - just a sincere hope that you can find the time and resources to join us this year. 

As a leader in the field of cultural access, you are a vital part of a national and international movement to build an inclusive society, develop best practices, influence policy, and ...  not to be melodramatic  ... change the world.  Isn't that what leadership is about? Whether your personal style of leadership is quiet and behind the scenes or loud and out front,  you are a necessary part of changing the world so that all people  - with and without disabilities, young and old - have equal access to the soul and heart of any nation:  its culture. 

The LEAD (Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability) conference and training continues to be the one place where leaders in the field of access to the cultural arts for individuals with disabilities and older adults can meet and mingle with peers, find out what is hot and what is not in technology, get the straight talk on legal issues, and contribute to the collective knowledge base of what does and doesn't work for building and keeping audiences, patrons, and visitors.

Please join us this August to continue the dynamic dialogue we've been having for the past 9 years at LEAD.   Please take the challenge to be the person at your museum, theater, or cultural institution who ensures that all members of your community have the opportunity to enjoy and participate in the cultural arts. 

RDA Australia.png

In Australia, ABC Rural reports on a unique inclusion adaptation to competition:

A horse riding coach says video is making dressage competitions more accessible for disabled riders who don't have the financial means or mobility to travel.

Alice Springs coach, Avril Troon, says the Riding for the Disabled 2009 Asia Pacific video competition will open up the competition to a lot more riders.

She says it's important for remote disabled riders to participate in national competitions.

"We're hoping it's going to be absolutely huge and I think it will be," she says.

"Working here at the moment in little old Alice Springs we're very, very isolated, and obviously the people here are restricted as to what competitions they can go to, because the travel here is just huge."


From the RDA web site:

Who we are

Riding for the Disabled Association Australia (RDAA) is a voluntary, nonprofit organisation which provides opportunities for anyone with a disability to enjoy safe, healthy stimulating, therapeutic, horse-related activities in Australia.

RDA enriches lives

RDAA develops ability & enriches lives through
specialised programs & relationships with horses


  • is the federal body of 8 autonomous RDA member states & territories in Australia;
  • acts as a national body and resource for its member states & territories to access accreditation, education and insurance;
  • encourages national links between the 8 affiliated states & territories offering therapeutic riding, driving and equine related activities;
  • is actively involved in establishing national policies & standards to ensure excellence in service delivery of RDA programs across the country;
  • liaises with government & industry on national issues;
  • leads in equine matters related to therapeutic riding;
  • plays a significant role as a member of the Federation of Riding for the Disabled International (FRDI)
  • promotes elite athletes at all levels
    • 5 RDAA riders will represent Australia at 2008 Paralympics

Mission Statement

"RDA enables people with disabilities and volunteers throughout Australia to experience enjoyment, challenge and a sense of achievement through participation in equestrian activities, resulting in the development of life skills, improved quality of life and attainment of personal goals.

We are dedicated to providing these services through an organisation that is Relevant, Innovative, Effective and Rewarding.

Operated by trained and caring people committed to our aims now and in the future, RDA is recognised as having active involvement within the equestrian and general communities."

The Korea IT Times reports on the 44th Korean Design Exhibition.

Representing the best in "Good Design" the event is yet another international-scale manifestation of the user-centered inclusive approach that is both Universal Design and Green.

"Kamsahamnida", Korea! Thank you.

From Designs Convey Environmental Messages:

Many designers made efforts to take the government's "Green New Deal" policy into consideration. At a glance, 23 percent of the winners of major prizes were based on the ubiquitous theme of "Low Carbon, Green Growth." For example, the panel members set their eyes on bicycle-related designs, considering bicycles' emergence as a new favorite transportation means or fitness and recreation equipment. Bicycle designs featuring novel ideas drew visitors' attention, including a portable bike, a self-powered electric tricycle, and a multi-functional bike. These designs are believed to have lingering positive effects on expanding the bike population in the future.

A self-powered electric tricycle designed by Cho In-soo, who won the KIDP President's Prize, features a mini pickup that can be used in rural areas. "Oxcycle" designed by Park Sung-bin and Koh Pyung-joo focuses on the pedaling function of the bicycle by installing an oxygen generator. "Bicycle Shelter" is designed by Cho Kyung-deuk and Yoon Se-il. Its concept is to provide shelters or resting places for bike riders along bike paths to be built across the country, with focus on a master plan for a Tour de Korea in connection with the government's four rivers project and its "Low Carbon, Green Growth" vision.

Another attraction is the display of designs for the people with mental and physical disabilities as well as the underprivileged. This section's theme is "Universal Design" aimed at helping these people overcome their physical weaknesses or handicaps that can occur as they age or under other certain circumstances. This design is aimed at making products human-centered, as opposed to what everybody had in the past when everything was standardized and only economic efficiency was emphasized.

A recyclable bottle cap designed by Park Dong-hyuk and Choi Du-sun is for visually handicapped people. The bottle cap carries Braille signs to help the visually handicapped identify its content without having to smell to find out what is in it. What drew our attention was a set of colored pencils designed by Roh Ji-hoon and Lee Kyung-kook under the theme "touch your colors." Unlike ordinary colored pencils, each of these specially designed colored pencils has a different shape, so that visually handicapped children aged 8 or younger, who cannot read Braille signs, can identify each colored pencil without other people's help. Another noteworthy item is "Navi Stick" designed by Yoo Ho-jin as an electronic walking cane for the visually handicapped. With this specially designed Braille cane, they can navigate roads with relative ease because the navigation sensor in the cane conveys road information to its holder through sound, vibration and Braille signs.



Tempo Tricycles International

Disability News Asia has picked up a story originally published in Malayasia:

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Gareth Isham of Brisbane-based Tempo Tricycles International is a manufacturer of rehabilitation, industrial, vending and recreational cycles.

"Cycling, as a form of recreational exercise, is a pleasant way for people with disabilities to get some aerobic activity, build up muscle strength and stamina," said Gareth.

Gareth initially started off with a regular bike shop but began making bikes for people with disabilities when he received requests for custom-made bikes from parents of disabled children.

"Many parents wanted the bikes for their children either for therapy, or to enable them to join in cycling activities with their family and friends. There was nowhere they could go to get such bikes, so we started to make bikes for people with disabilities. Now, 35 years later, we've reached a point where we can almost get everybody with a disability riding, from mildly autistic children to those with cerebral palsy."

Full story:

Silent Odyssey Trailer

SILENT ODYSSEY documents the journey of filmmaker Miranamedina with Deaf people by bringing to the hearing society the sentiments, history, language and culture of the Filipino Deaf. With the persistence of negative stigma regarding Persons With Disabilities (PWD) and the myth that the Deaf are dumb, the call for an advocacy film for Deaf people becomes more urgent especially now that the Philippines ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities on April 15, 2008. SILENT ODYSSEY features more than 40 members of the Filipino Deaf community, educators, missionaries and service providers to the Deaf with the special participation of Markku Jokinen, World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) President. SILENT ODYSSEY (110 minutes, subtitles in English) is a production of Miryad Visyon in cooperation with the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Lingap-Pangarap Foundation, Inc. SILENT ODYSSEY PREMIERE Premiered September 20, 2008, 4 p.m. at the UP Film Center Theater (Cine Adarna)

Cuatro rutas por el centro de Madrid aptas para personas con discapacidad son algunas de las nuevas propuestas de la tercera edición de la Guía de Turismo Accesible, un paso más dentro del proyecto 'Turismo para todos' del Ayuntamiento, que esta mañana ha presentado el delegado de Economía y Empleo, Miguel Ángel Villanueva. Villanueva ha explicado que el objetivo de la publicación es poner al alcance del sector turístico y de las personas con discapacidad física y sensorial "una herramienta informativa capaz de plasmar el estado y el nivel de accesibilidad de la infraestructura turística madrileña"...

El Patronato de Turismo ha editado la guía en dos formatos, en papel y electrónico. En papel se distribuirá principalmente entre los agentes turísticos especializados y las entidades representativas de las personas con discapacidad, mientras que el electrónico puede consultarse en su web Esmadrid.com. No en vano, según datos de EUROSTAT, 38 millones de europeos padecen algún tipo de discapacidad, lo que representa un 14,5 por ciento de la población de la Unión Europea de entre 16 y 64 años. Sólo en España el número de personas con discapacidad asciende a más del 10% de la población.



Follow-up to "Steal This Idea"

The first event in the "best-time-to-visit-Northern-California" series was a success!

Wheelchair user Kristi Grotting shepherded three major Northern California accessible leisure activity organizations through the first "Be Stoked SF" day.

Find more photos like this on Tour Watch
Next weekend is "Day on the Beach" in Santa Cruz.
Find more photos like this on Tour Watch

From Media dis&dat blog on Russia:

The President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, has signed a law bringing relevant national legislation into line with international best practices for nations hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The new law makes amendments to existing Russian legislation, covering the organization of the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games and procedures for entry to and exit from Russia.

The updated legislation ensures the Paralympic Games has equal status to the Olympic Games. Currently, the organization of the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is regulated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), in accordance with the IOC Olympic Charter and the IPC Handbook. Previously Russia's laws have made reference to the IOC Olympic Charter and not to the IPC Handbook, now covered by the new amendments.


Around the Rings provides ongoing information on the Paralympics. Here they describe how

...Tokyo plans to host the most compact, sustainable and athlete-focused Paralympic Games in history.

A pioneer in urban solutions that benefit disabled people, the vibrant and safe city of Tokyo and its world-renowned transportation network are already in the process of implementing new cutting-edge best practices as part of a greater vision to create a 100% barrier-free urban environment and share it with the world through an inspiring Games in 2016.
Full story:

Three San Francisco Bay Area organizations have teamed up to launch a "sleeper" event: Be Stoked SF

Quietly, with only local fanfare among the faithful, Environmental Travel Companions, Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors, and Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program are conspiring to put the area on the international map as a destination o choice for active travelers with disabilities. The appeal of San Francisco and all of Northern California is no secret to travelers but this addition to inclusive sporting culture and outdoor leisure activities starts small today in order to give the concept a trial run and test its scalability.

The event, happening only one week before nearby Santa Cruz' annual accessible Day on the Beach, makes the second and third weekends of July anchor points for travelers from around the world to come spend a week, see the sights, and experience Northern California's active disability community. Be Stoked SF includes one and two person sailboats that were designed for people with disabilities, handcycles, adaptive trikes, tandems, and stable two person kayaks.

Who will be the inbound tourism agency to prepare and sell this itinerary as a package next year?

Who will be the next international-class destination to offer an enticing packaged of community-based and fully-inclusive active leisure celebrations to position thier commnities as destinations of choice for our community?

Off the beaten track Longview, Texas shows the way with an annual event through Judie Moffet's Power, Inc. Chicago has a pilot event on Lake Michigan scheduled for next month. New York City has one under discussion.

Anyone south of the equator got plans for back-to-back weekends of public, volunteer-enabled accessibility to the outdoors?

Take this idea -- and roll with it!!

Jennae Bezuidenhout keeps extending the range of her travel offerings through Access to Africa Safaris. Jennae specializes in the Elephant Coast north of urban in Kwa-Zulu Natal Province.

Enjoy some shots from her balloon ride itinerary.

Find more photos like this on Tour Watch

2nd ENAT International Congress:

"Trends and Prospects for Accessible Tourism"

Date: 30 September and 1 October 2009

Location: Austria Center Vienna (Fotogallery)
Bruno-Kreisky-Platz 1
A-1220 Wien

For information on barrier-free travel in Austria see the Info Platform Accessible Tourism (IBFT):


Accessible travel expert and guest blogger Candy Harrington answers questions about accessible air travel and the recent revisions of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).

1. Can you highlight the major changes in the Air Carrier Access Act?

Well the biggest change is that the ACAA now covers air travel on all flights to and from the US, even on non-US airlines. So, basically it extends the reach of the law.

The ACAA was also edited to require the "prompt" deplaning of disabled passengers; a term that the Department of Transportation (DOT) defines as "no later than as soon as the other passengers have deplaned." The last version of the law was a bit ambiguous on this point, and the amendment gives it more teeth.

The new ACAA also requires airlines to allow the on-board use of all FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrators, ventilators, respirators and CPAP machines. Additionally, it requires airlines to offer disabled passengers any web-only fares that appear on inaccessible websites, either by phone or another accessible reservation method.

Last buy not least, the new version is in an easier-to-read, user-friendly format.

2. You mentioned Portable Oxygen concentrators, but what about canister oxygen?  Are the airlines now required to accept it?

No. Passengers are not allowed to bring their own compressed oxygen on board. Furthermore, the airlines are not required to provide medical oxygen on a non-emergency basis; however if they choose to provide this service, they are allowed to set their own rules and prices for it.

The DOT received a lot of comments from people who use medical oxygen, most of who felt the airlines should be required to provide medical oxygen for free. The DOT is still studying that issue, but for the time being the rules about compressed oxygen remain unchanged. Basically you need to check with each individual airline to find out about their policies and prices.

3. I'm a wheelchair-user and I need bulkhead seating.  What does the law say about that, and how do I go about guaranteeing that I get it?

Under the ACAA, bulkhead seating is only guaranteed to people who travel with a service animal or to those folks who have a fused (immovable) leg. So, if you are a wheelchair-user, and you don't meet that criteria, under the law, the airlines are not required to give you a bulkhead seat. The only thing they are required to provide is a seat with a flip-up armrest.

On the plus side though, many airlines block a few bulkhead seats for other passengers who may have access needs. So call around and find out about each airline's policy regarding bulkhead seating; and then give your business to those airlines that will seat you in the bulkhead section.  

4. Is denied boarding for disabled passengers still a problem in other countries?

Unfortunately this continues to be a problem with many domestic airlines in Asia, Australia and Africa. In many cases, airline employees won't let wheelchair-users travel alone; and in some cases they have also denied boarding to passengers who cannot walk, even if they are accompanied by an attendant. And unfortunately many people don't find this out until they are ready to board. Over the past few years I've heard denied boarding complaints about Virgin Blue, South African Express, Air Asia, Tiger Airways, Air Sahara, Cebu Pacific and Aeroflot. It's something that I hope will change in the future, but for right now, it pays to be aware of potential problems when flying in these regions.

5. What can I do if I encounter problems when I'm traveling? What if the airlines just don't follow the rules? Is there some place that I can file a complaint?

If you encounter a problem while traveling -- one that just can't be solved by the front line staff -- then ask to speak to the Complaints Resolution Official (CRO). The CRO is a problem solver, and is specifically educated on traveler's rights and airline responsibilities under the ACAA. All US airlines are required to have a CRO on duty while the airport is open; while foreign carriers are required to have a CRO available at each airport serving flights that begin or end in the US.

If you want compensation from the airline for something that happened during the flight, then it's best to collect your documentation and file a written complaint with the airline after you return home. Watch your deadlines though, as airlines are not required to respond to complaints postmarked more than 45 days after the alleged ACAA violation. For complaints filed in a timely manner, the airline must respond in 30 days.

Last but not least, you can also file a complaint with the DOT. The DOT does not award monetary compensation to individuals, but it can fine the airlines for violating the ACAA. All DOT complaints must be filed with six months of the incident. You can download the complaint form on the DOT website at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov.

6. Can my wheelchair really be stored in the passenger compartment of the aircraft? How do I arrange this?

US aircraft with more than 100 seats must have priority space to carry at least one manual folding wheelchair in the cabin. The updated ACAA lists the dimensions of this space as being 13 inches by 36 inches by 42 inches. So measure you wheelchair when it's folded, just to make sure it will fit.

Since the airlines are only required to have one wheelchair storage space, it pays to be first in line. Tell the gate agent that you need to stow your wheelchair in the passenger compartment, then be first on the plane when pre-boarding is announced.

For foreign carriers arriving or departing the US, this rule applies to all aircraft ordered after May 13, 2009 or placed into service after May 13, 2010.

7. With all the revisions of the laws and the advances of technology, why haven't the powers that be ever thought about a way to install some removable seats and tie-downs, so passengers can just stay in their own wheelchairs for the flight? Do you ever see this happening?

In a word, no. It's not quite as simple as it seems. While wheelchair-tie-downs on buses are just fine, most buses don't go in excess of 200 mph. In short, it would create a very dangerous situation in the air, one that could easily turn a wheelchair into a projectile object.

But I'm not the only one who takes this stand; I'm just repeating what the DOT has said many times. In fact, in the most recent amendment to the ACAA, the DOT commented that this was not even under consideration because it "would be inconsistent with FAA safety rules concerning passenger seats on aircraft, since aircraft seats must be certified to withstand specified g-forces."

8. When are they going to make airline bathrooms actually big enough for wheelchair-users to use. My PCA has to help me, and even in the largest models it's a pretty tight squeeze.

I agree that most on-board lavatories are not large enough for two people, but there is good news in the future. The new Boeing Dreamliner (787) promises to have some very accessible facilities, including a 56-inch by 57-inch convertible lavatory with a movable center wall; so that two separate lavatories can be converted to one large, wheelchair-accessible facility. Other access improvements include an additional toilet flush button on the sink cabinet and a fold-down assist bar to aid independent transfers.

This particular aircraft is going to be popular on long-haul flights (where you need a lavatory the most); and in the end it will make air travel accessible to more people. So far, 57 airlines have ordered 886 planes.  

9. Do you have any good resources for the Air Carrier Access Act -- something that I can refer to when I'm getting ready to travel?

Well, although there are many interpretations of the law, the best place to go is to the law itself. A copy of the most recent ACAA (May 13, 2009) is available at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/rules/Part%20382-2008.pdf.

And if you want a real person to answer your questions, the DOT operates a toll-free aviation consumer disability hotline at (866) 266-1368.


Candy Harrington is the editor of Emerging Horizons (www.emerginghorizons.com) and the author of several best-selling guide books for disabled travelers, including her newest release, the third edition of Barrier Free Travel; A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers (www.BarrierFreeTravel.net). She also blogs regularly about accessible travel issues at www.BarrierFreeTravels.com.

India: A Revolution on Rails?

By Imtiaz Muqbil

Indian Railways' multi-million dollar spruce-up is set to continue in the year ahead with a new caveat, balancing "social viability" and "economic viability". The budget proposal for 2009-10 tabled to parliament by Railways Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee on 03 July 2009 will strive to go down the aviation track in upgrading one of the world's largest railway networks - boost passenger services, develop railways terminals/stations and safety, improve connectivity, expand the reservations systems, create better facilities for the handicapped, all without a single increase in fares or freight rates. It will go further than airlines in some respects with a strong focus on freight movements, especially perishable products like fruits and vegetables, thus creating opportunities for developing new markets for India's low-earning farmers.

As these projects are implemented over the Railways' roughly 17,800 services a day, the benefits to travel & tourism will be phenomenal. Domestic tourism will be a primary beneficiary, but so will international tourism, especially for backpackers, most of whom prefer to travel around India by train. It will open up access to dozens of destinations around India, creating new tour packaging opportunities, boosting the average length of stay and distribution of earnings. Neighbouring countries will also benefit; one key part of the budgetary expenditure is for development of links with neighbouring Bangladesh. Indeed, with the signing of the Trans Asian Railway network agreement, numerous other countries will be encouraged to undertake similar upgrades in their railway facilities.

After getting the lion's share of attention in recent years, India's aviation sector has become a victim of its over-zealous growth. The railway network, which transports the vast majority of middle- and lower-income strata Indians, is making slow but steady progress, with every possibility that it will turn the tables on the airlines in providing economically viable, environmentally friendly, inclusive and safe travel around India.

The Railways budget is the third most awaited financial event in India, after the Union Budget and Economic Survey. Created in an election year, the new budget is designed to be both "populist and popular". It strives to provide "inclusive" economic growth and promote greater intra-India social and cultural linkages. Indeed, this year's budget seeks to continue what is considered one of the most significant "turnaround" stories in commercial history but with a difference. Says the minister (who is now back in the Railways portfolio after serving an earlier term under a previous government in 2000), "The Railways is an organization with twin responsibilities - commercial and social. It will be our endeavour to render all commercial services with a human face" and "make Indian Railways a strong, responsive and vibrant organization, with higher levels of capability and effectiveness."

Like the main Union budget, the Railways budget is designed to help the Indian government eradicate poverty, and generate growth by upgrading the living standards of common people. Said the minister, "I am deeply conscious of the need to bring about a perceptible improvement in the travel experience of our passengers. .... and bring highest satisfaction to the travelling public. I am also aware that the recession in the economy has caused much economic burden among the poorer section of our society. Therefore, I do not propose any increase in the passenger fares of any class or category of trains. Similarly, I do not intend to increase freight tariffs." In addition to pledging improved passenger amenities, cleanliness, quality of railway catering, safety and security and punctuality, she promised a 'White Paper' would be created to assess the Railways' organizational, operational and financial status and develop a Vision 2020 along with short- and long-term strategies and plan of action to realise it.

From a broader perspective, the new policy ditches the notion that privatisation of state assets is always the best way forward. In her statement to Parliament, the minister queried "whether railway projects (should) be measured only on the scale of "economic viability" or do we also need to look at the "social viability" of these projects?"

She added, "Are the fruits of development to be restricted only to a privileged few and not to the teeming populations in remote and backward areas of our country? These projects may be economically unviable but are an economic necessity for the people of those regions who have remained victims of backwardness and poverty. They need these projects even more. I do believe and I am firmly committed to the visible upliftment (sic) of the downtrodden and under privileged which is imperative for holistic socio-economic development of the country. These projects that are instrumental in upgradation (sic) of the deprived and under privileged, may not meet the so called economic viability criterion but create real economic assets which will be far more beneficial for future development."

She said, "Just as everybody has a right to vote in democracy, in the same manner, every ordinary person should have the right to development. Several lakhs of people are awaiting development. I think the time has come when our economists and social philosophers will have to consider, that the upliftment (sic) of the poor and down trodden, is the primary task of any welfare government and society and the old mindset of economic viability should be substituted by social viability. Rather than following the conventional strategy of firing staff as a means of cutting costs, it will seek to improve the benefits and working conditions for the 140,000 staff.

She added, "The Railways must set an example to promote 'inclusiveness' in their functioning keeping the needs of all sections of our fellow countrymen in our thoughts, decisions and deeds. I have therefore decided to set up an expert committee to advise me on innovative financing and implementation of the so called "economically unviable" but socially desired projects. We will identify those parts that are detached from all infrastructure development and facilities and within a short time I will prepare a blueprint of how many such schemes can be implemented in the coming five years."

The key issue, she said, was the "need to strike a right balance. Everyone knows that India is changing and changing rapidly. Indeed Railways is making its own important contribution to this change. Today the people of India are eager for faster and inclusive economic growth. They want better connectivity, more employment opportunities. People of every region in every state want to see progress in agriculture, industry, trade and business, so that they and their children can live a better life. Indian Railways is a unique umbrella for creation of infrastructure for development and it is our Mission and Vision to expand the network to reach development to every corner of the country."

"Every person wants to live in dignity. The journey of life also begins with dignity. Rail journey is also like the journey of life. I want that every person should travel on our Railways with dignity."

Highlights of the budget

<> Launch of a new train service called "Duronto" with non-stop, point-to-point services between major metropolitan centres nationwide. For the first time, non-stop trains will link Kolkata-Mumbai, and the capital of New Delhi with Chennai, JammuTawi (Northern India), Lucknow, Pune, Kolkata, Allahabad, Sealdah, Bhubaneshwar and Ernakulam. Another non-stop service will run Kolkata-Amritsar. These will be operated on bi-weekly or tri-weekly basis. Another 57 "superfast" new train services will be created, also linking cities such as Visakhapatnam-Mumbai, Kolkata-Bangalore and Mumbai-Varanasi. Another 27 services will be extended beyond existing destinations, and a further 13 will be upgraded to nearly daily services.

<> The 50 railway stations of nearly all these key cities will be upgraded to "world class standards with international level facilities" through innovative financing and in Public Private Partnership mode. Some of these include are CST Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Howrah, Sealdah, Bhubaneswar, New Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Amritsar, Kanpur, Guwahati, Jaipur, Chennai Central, Tiruvananthapuram Central, Secunderabad, Tirupati, Bangalore City, Baiyapanahali (Bangalore), Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Habibganj, Gaya Jn., Agra Cantt., Mathura Jn., Chandigarh, Kolkata, New Jalpaiguri, Majerhat, Mangalore, Porbandar, Anand Vihar, Bijwasan, Ajmer Jn. and Puri.

<> This year, another 375 stations will be provided with basic facilities such as drinking water, adequate toilets, catering services, waiting rooms and dormitories especially for lady passengers, and better signage.

<> All Railway zones have been instructed to give priority to provision of good quality food, drinking water and toilet facilities and ensure cleanliness on trains and stations. National and regional cuisines will be introduced. A comprehensive policy including strict monitoring mechanisms is to be developed for achieving these objectives.

<> Expand On Board House Keeping Scheme (OBHS) to cover 200 additional pairs of trains and also take up improved linen management through modern automated laundries. A pilot project will be started in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram and later extended to other cities.

<> Help Physically Challenged Persons and aged persons by providing standard ramps, earmarked parking lots, specially designed coaches in each mail and express train, lifts and escalators.

<> Introduce Train Information System with automatic announcements in Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi suburban sections as is already in the process of being installed in Mumbai.

<> Explore the possibility to depute at least one doctor in long distance trains. Arrangements will be made to provide Ambulance services for passengers at Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bhubaneswar to start with.

<> Provide on-board infotainment services on Rajdhanis, Shatabdis and important long distance inter-city trains.

<> The absence of toilet facilities on some trains when the travel time is less than 4 hours, poses difficulties for women, children and aged persons. Plans are to provide toilet facilities on all journeys of more than 2 hours. Conduct field trials for introducing environment friendly toilets.

<> The Reservation System now covers 800 locations with 6,872 terminals. This will be expanded to cover 200 new towns and cities and a further 800 new locations in cities and towns already having PRS facilities. Each member of both houses of Parliament has been asked to identify one PRS location of their choice for inclusion in the list.

<> The number of Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) terminals is being expanded from 5,000 to 8,000. Automatic Vending Machines will be installed at 200 large and medium sized stations. E-ticketing will also be introduced. Cancellation of confirmed e-tickets is to be simplified. Efforts are on to provide SMS update on waitlisted tickets.

<> Under an MoU with Department of Post, passengers can now buy computerized tickets from nearly 5,000 post offices in cities and towns. Mobile ticketing vans will be introduced for issuing reserved and unreserved tickets in both urban and rural areas. Poor people who are unable to go to the stations can now purchase tickets in market places, "mohallas" and other busy places. This year, 50 such mobile vans will be introduced nationwide.

<> High capacity air conditioned double-decker coaches will be introduced for intercity travel.

<> The Additional General Managers on each zonal Railway will be responsible for periodic supervision and carrying out surprise inspections and attending to public grievances. Each Division will have a dedicated officer for field level supervision.

<> "Yuva Trains" will be introduced between major cities to help youth and low income groups travel at low rates. The new low-priced fast train service will connect rural hinterlands to major metros/cities. The train will provide air conditioned seated accommodation. A weekly service will be introduced as a pilot service within three months between Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi-Kolkata. If successful it will be extended to other areas of the country.

<> Concessions "Izzat": A new scheme called 'Izzat' (dignity, or respect) will involve a uniformally priced monthly season ticket of Rs. 25 would be available free of all surcharges for travel up to 100 kms for members of the unorganized sector with monthly income not exceeding Rs. 1500/-.

<> Concessions to journalists: Instead of giving coupons, it is now proposed to issue photo identification cum credit card based on the certification by the Press Information Bureau and other State and local authorities. In addition, concession of 30% will be increased to 50%. Permission to travel with spouse at 50% concession will be given for once a year.

<> Student concessions. The presently free monthly season tickets for second class travel between school and home for girl students up to graduation and for boy students up to 12th standard will be extended to students attending Madrasa, High Madrasa and senior Madrasa. Concessional monthly season tickets will also now be available for students attending school up to Class XII, Madrasa, High Madrasa and senior Madrasa for travel in Metro rail, Kolkata. Students attending recognized vocational institutions will also enjoy this 60% concession on the metro fare.

<> Only Ladies Special: As the number of working women in increases, they face considerable difficulties in travelling for work. 'Ladies Only' train services will be introduced in Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata suburban similar to that on Mumbai suburban.

<> Freight Business: Improve the proportion of freight traffic moving on Railways. Besides improving the loading of coal, iron ore, cement, fertilizers and food grains, Railways are seeking to increase their share in new traffic streams like automobiles, fly ash etc. Permission to access private sidings will be given to containers which will help in attracting piecemeal traffic presently not being carried by Railways. A premium service for container movement with assured transit time is being considered for time sensitive cargo.

<> Private ownership of special purpose rolling stock for commodities and private operation of freight terminals will be encouraged. A new policy would be unveiled to allow construction and operation of private freight terminals and multi-modal logistic parks. Partnerships will be sought with state governments and major logistics players to set up logistics parks co-habited by multiple players through participative funding.

<> Mega logistics hubs are being planned alongside the proposed Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors.

<> Multi-functional Complexes (Macs) will be built in station premises for providing rail users facilities like shopping, food stalls and restaurants, book stalls, PCO/STD/ISD/Fax booths, medicine & variety stores, budget hotels, underground parking etc. These are planned at 50 railway stations serving places of pilgrimage, industry and tourist interest this year.

<> Kinas-Vision (Farmer-Vision) project: India suffers an unacceptable loss of about Rs. 35-40,000 crore (Editor's note: one crore is 10 million) every year in wastage of fruits and vegetables. The Railways proposes to contribute to India's second green revolution by introducing special trains to carry perishable products like fruits and vegetables, fish, etc, from identified production clusters to consumer centres. A professional agency will be hired to identify locations and design proper services.

<> Promote small industries and facilitate movement of village handicraft, cottage industry and textile products from production clusters like Tirupur, Dhanekhali, Shantipur etc to consumption centres.

<> Super Fast Parcel Express Trains: Launch of a premium parcel service named "Faster Parcel Services" on a pilot basis on 3 routes between: Tughalakabad (Delhi) and Royapuram (Chennai) Tughalakabad (Delhi) and Vapi (near Mumbai); Tughalakabad (Delhi) and Howrah This is envisaged as a time-tabled service from dedicated terminals with guaranteed transit time and web-based bookings.

<> Dedicated Freight Corridors on the Western and Eastern routes, a landmark project of great importance for creating infrastructure and generating employment. The Western corridor passes through Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The Eastern Corridor will run from Ludhiana to Kolkata via Dankuni, covering the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Prefeasibility studies for the other trunk routes viz; North-South, East-West, East-South and Southern (Chennai-Goa) corridors have been conducted and Ministry of Railways will take steps for further action in this regard.

<> A Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor is being developed in the area of the Western Dedicated Freight corridor comprising industrial hubs, rail port connectivity, logistic parks and mega power plants which will be executed in public private partnership mode.

<> An Eastern Industrial Corridor developing alongside the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor, similar to the Delhi Mumbai Industrial corridor. The Railways land banks will be used to avoid cost increases and help in early start of industrial projects.

<> Improvements in Rail based suburban services i.e. Metro Railway, Circular Railway and EMU services, considered to be the "life-line" of megapolises like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai. Even after augmenting the capacity of the existing trains by way of additional coaches and introduction of additional services, the rail based suburban system will not be able to meet the demand of the ever increasing population and do not provide rail based transport from origin to destination to the commuters.

<> Kashmir: A new rail line from Anantnag to Baramulla in Kashmir Valley has already been completed. Further, Quazigund-Anantnag line will be completed by August 09 and will be inaugurated soon.

<> The Northeast region: Another very sensitive region, where rail projects are in progress for providing connectivity to state capitals of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. Ten rail projects in this region have been declared as National projects. A proposal for creation of Northeast Region Rail Development Fund has been initiated to ensure timely completion of the National Projects.

<> Improvement of staff quarters & colonies. During 2009-10, 6,560 new staff quarters are proposed to be constructed. Indoor stadiums will be developed in major railway divisions and zones including Bongaon at the Indo-Bangladesh border.

<> Increase the contribution to Staff Benefit Fund to Rs 350/- per employee by one year. Of this amount, Rs 100 per employee will be exclusively for activities relating to women empowerment and training for developing vocational and occupational skills of physically and mentally challenged wards of railway employees especially girl-childs and higher education for girls. It has been proposed to set up Scholarships for higher education of girl children of group D staff for promoting their economic independence.

<> Open seven Nursing Colleges on Railway land at Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai (Kalyan), Chennai, Secunderabad, Lucknow and Jabalpur on Public Private Partnership model so as to facilitate the wards of the Railway employees in finding a good vocational avenue.

<> Medical colleges are planned to be established attached to existing railway hospitals through PPP, to give higher education facilities to new generation of railway children.

<> Special Recruitment Drive will be launched to wipe out backlog in filling up the vacancies of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes. It is proposed to develop a scheme to give better representation to minorities, women and economically back ward classes of the society in railway recruitments. A Special Recruitment Drive will be launched for filling up of vacancies against Physically Handicapped Quota.

<> Strengthen apprentices training facilities to impart state of the art training to young artisans and supervisors.

<> Safety: Safety is first priority. This includes timely track renewal, modernization of signals, use of various safety equipment like digital ultrasonic flaw detecting machines and wheel impact load detectors.

<> Road Over Bridges and Road Under Bridges are extremely important from safety point of view. The present mechanism of cost sharing between the Railways and the state governments needs to be reviewed. A new approach is being sought, with assured funding, to facilitate turnkey execution of these projects.

<> Anti Collision Device (ACD) has been made operational on 1736 RKm of North Frontier Railway. Further work for extending this system on 1700 RKm on three railways Southern, South Central and South Western Railways is planned to be completed in two years.

<> Security and Integrated Security Scheme has been drawn up for 140 vulnerable and sensitive railway stations. Women RPF squads are being deployed for security of women passengers, particularly in sections where a large number of women travel alone regularly.

<> During 2008-09, 363 km of doublings were constructed whereas for 2009-10, target for doubling of 700 km has been fixed. The target for electrification during XI Plan is 3500 Route Kilometers with an outlay of Rs.3500 crores. In the first two years of XI Plan, 1299 RKMs has been electrified.

<> Railway Printing Presses: Long been neglected and considered a non-productive asset. A few major presses like Mumbai (Byculla), Delhi (Shakurbasti), Kolkata (Howrah) and Chennai are proposed for upgrading, making it cost effective for the railways and also creating surplus capacity for ancillary development and commercial purposes.

<> All the initiatives indicated in the Budget and the projects taken in hand are to be strictly monitored for implementation in line with fixed target dates. A project monitoring committee is to be set up to monitor the time-lines. This will achieve substantial savings in cost associated with faulty planning and time over-run

The full text of the Railways Minister's speech, including numerous technical and financial details on funding can be found here.


Travel Impact Newswire

Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, 24 Soi Chidlom, Bangkok, Thailand 10330. T: (66-2) 2551480, 2537590. Fax: (66-2) 2544316. Email: imtiaz@travel-impact-newswire.com

Mobility International USA (MIUSA) has been working since 1981 on issues of international development and exchange within the disability community. On October 20, 2009 they will host the conference "Accessing the World Through International Exchange" in San Francisco.

Information will be online at http://www.miusa.org/ncde/seminarsf or via phone and TTY at (541) 343-1284

To download the 25th anniversary book  on MIUSA's accomplishments see:

MIUSA Conference -

A jornalista e consultora de etiqueta Claudia Matarazzo fala sobre melhor maneira de receber pessoas com deficiência em seu mais novo livro: "Vai Encarar? - O Mundo (quase) Invisível de Pessoas com Deficiência", lançadono mês passado pela editora Melhoramentos. Ao longo das suas 216 páginas, a publicação traz dicas de como preparar melhor a casa para a visita de um cego, como falar com um surdo sem dificultar a leitura labial e o que fazer para melhor recepcionar um paraplégico.

Os textos têm como base entrevistas com cadeirantes, surdos, anões, cegos e pessoas com outros tipos de limitações. Alguns deles ganharam perfis na obra, nos quais contam suas histórias. Seus relatos e opiniões contribuem também para capítulos que falam de tópicos como sexo e moda.

A principal consultora do livro, ouvida por Claudia, é a vereadora Mara Gabrilli (PSDB-SP), que ficou tetraplégica após um acidente de carro. Segundo Mara, faltava uma publicação assim no mercado, que abordasse a questão da deficiência de maneira sensível e ao mesmo tempo prática, facilitando a aproximação e conseqüentemente a naturalidade ao lidar com essas questões.

Para a autora, preparar a casa para receber quem tem deficiência basta apenas ser atencioso e gentil, como para qualquer outro convidado. Uma das dicas é não sufocar a curiosidade natural das crianças, proibindo que elas interajam com o convidado. "O menor dos problemas de uma pessoa com deficiência é responder às eventuais perguntas de uma criança. Deixe que conversem e, depois, se perceber que o pequeno está sendo inconveniente, intervenha. Mas nunca antes, criando uma barreira antecipada", diz um dos capítulos. A publicação é acompanhada por audiolivro para deficientes visuais, narrado pela autora.

Vai encarar? - A nação (quase) invisível de pessoas com deficiência.
Autora: Claudia Matarazzo (consultoria de Mara Gabrilli)
216 páginas
Editora: Melhoramentos
Preço: R$ 29,00

Convergence Continues: UD & Green

Summit Carriage Homes expresses the Universal Design/Green convergence this way:

Many organizations and studies, including the National Association of Homebuilders, have identified two complementary trends in housing for boomers and active seniors...

Universal design responds to home owners wish to age in place. Features like wide doors, lever door knobs, unobtrusive grab bars, and lower cabinet heights, with potential wheel chair access allow for staying at home even with disabilities. But, universal design goes further, to include easy touch thermostats and excellent lighting, for those normal deficiencies that aging can bring.

Green and sustainable design features the use of healthier interior and exterior materials, sustainable energy and often intersects with concepts of universal design. Benefits include:

- Reduced utility costs
- Conservation of energy and water.
- A healthier and safer home for occupants.
- Reduced harmful greenhouse gas emissions

They go on to look at broader community impacts such as Livability and Visitability:

Chuck Frankel developer and Eco Broker, says: "Green design impacts on both interior and exterior home planning." Accordingly, professionals have been engaged to prepare a report that includes traffic flow, light quality, water drainage, soil and other contamination. "We want to do more than maintain the environment, explains, our goal is to improve it for future residents of Summit and for current and future neighbors."

For their press release:

 ON THE LEVEL San Francisco Walking Tours has operated in San
Francisco California since 1999.  Its primary goal is to share the joys of
walking in San Francisco with people of all abilities, ages and interests who
seek  sightseeing tours that are more personal, intimate and can reveal hidden
 gems of the magnificent city of San Francisco.

Led by guide, Marilyn Straka, this all level, all accessible guided walking tour of historic
 market street and Yerba Buena Gardens will highlight the points of interest
 and historic details of places familiar to you. 10-city blocks of walking
 total. All proceeds from the July 26th tour are donated to AXIS Dance Company.
 Following the walk, you you might want to check out the San Francisco
 Theater Festival, a free performance as a part of the Yerba Buena

Sunday, July 26th, 11am - 12:30pm
 Walk Registration:  Sliding scale, $25-$50

 For more information on AXIS Dance Company visit

 Pre-register online before Thurs, July 23rd @
 In the field marked, "This donation is a tribute to" please note
"On the Level Walking  Tour"
 Or mail a check made out to
AXIS Dance Company, 1428 Alice Street, Ste.
200, Oakland, CA. 
Note: "On the Level Walking  Tour"

La primera edición del Congreso Internacional de Diseño Universal tendrá lugar del 30 de septiembre al 2 de octubre de 2009 en el Palacio de Ferias y Congresos de Málaga (FYCMA).

Esta cita, organizada por el Área de Accesibilidad del Ayuntamiento de Málaga junto con el Palacio de Ferias y Congresos de Málaga y coorganizada por la Fundación ONCE, reunirá a agentes públicos y privados para intercambiar experiencias y realizar contactos, identificar oportunidades y conocer las últimas novedades del sector. También colaboran en esta iniciativa el Real Patronato sobre Discapacidad y la Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias.

Además de un congreso internacional que ofrece ponencias de importantes expertos en la materia, el certamen propone una zona de exposición en la que las empresas podrán mostrar aquellos productos y servicios relacionados con el diseño universal.

FYCMA se une a las redes sociales y estrena su perfil en Facebook
FYCMA se une al fenómeno de las redes sociales y estrena esta semana su perfil en Facebook, una de las comunidades virtuales más concurridas y conocidas del momento. Con esta iniciativa, FYCMA pretende ampliar su presencia en la red y acercarse al mundo de la Web 2.0 para que los potenciales usuarios puedan conocer más en profundidad los eventos y actividades del recinto.


This introductory section of one of my talks to the Carlo Besta Institute in Milan was just posted to YouTube.

The clip ends with reference to the Waypoint Backstrom Principles reproduced below.

Some of the themes of this clip are continued in the following presentation at the 2009 Carlo Besta Institute conference on travel and disability.


All it took was swapping CAPTCHA for reCAPTCHA as BA Haller noted in Media dis&dat:

Members of San Francisco's Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired appealed to Twitter executives during the company's first business conference in late May to make changes to its CAPTCHA security software and make it more accessible for the blind and visually impaired. CAPTCHA is the test near the end of most online registration forms where people are asked to read one or two wobbly words and type them. Its purpose is to avoid automatic computer-generated responses.

But it hinders independent navigation for blind and visually impaired users who rely on software that reads information on their computers aloud. Such programs often come to a stump when they try to decipher the CAPTCHA word garbles, leaving their users in a bind and unable to continue without someone else's help.

"In order to get past CAPTCHA, which my text-to-speech software can't pick up, I have to ask a sighted person to assist me, compromising the security of my personal information - the very thing that Twitter tries to avoid by using CAPTCHAs," said the Lighthouse's director of public policy and information Jessie Lorenz in a press release, who is blind.


Subject: Via Libre Pilot Study: Tourism Accessibility Standards in Europe: Visitor Accessibility Survey

To: Tourists with disabilities and others who have particular access needs, when travelling for business or leisure

2nd July 2009

Dear Sir or Madam,

Via Libre, a member of the Fundosa Group, Spain (ONCE Foundation) is conducting a pilot study about the use of accessibility standards in the tourism sector, for disabled visitors and others with particular access needs. 

The study aims to identify the existing Standards, Quality Norms, Laws and Minimum Requirements concerning accessibility in tourism in selected European countries; to evaluate these instruments in terms of their effectiveness towards tourism providers and in relation to the accessibility of destinations,as experienced by visitors with disabilities and others who require good access conditions.

As part of this study you are invited to answer a short, on-line Visitor Accessibility Survey.
The only condition for participating in the survey is that you must have travelled away from home (on business or for pleasure) to a European country in the last 3 years. You can, of course, answer if you have travelled within your own country or to more than one country!

To go to the survey page, please click on the following link:

If the link does not work immediately, please copy and paste the link into the address line of your web browser.

The questionnaire can be answered in less than 10 minutes.
You must answer the whole survey in one "session" and submit the form by pressing the "Submit" button at the bottom of the page!
Deadline! Please note that the visitor accessibility survey will close at midnight (Central European Time) on 15th July 2009

The survey results will be published by Via Libre during this summer. Your answers are anonymous. Only aggregated data will be presented in the survey report.

We hope that, with your participation, this survey will shed new light on the use of industry standards for accessibility in the tourism sector, providing a baseline for company policies and practices in the future.

A website for the Study of Tourism Accessibility Standards has been opened at:
- You may post your comments on the pages of this website about any aspect of the study or about accessibility in tourism.

With kind regards,

Ivor Ambrose and Carolina Vicens
Via Libre Study Team
Email: ambrose.research@gmail.com

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Amrit Hallan writes Abled Voice blog with  a focus on Subhash Chandra Vashishth

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Travel companion services are arising to serve disabled and senior travelers. This press release examines Universal Design in the context of home health care and home medical equipment. How can we make a smoother transition between the comforts of home for those with chronic disabilities and the comforts of travel:

This report originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of DOTmed Business News

America is an aging population - a majority of Baby Boomers (75%) are slated to retire in the next decade. To cut down on health care costs, many seek to age in place - by staying in their current homes - with some useful alterations incorporated.

Upgrades to a home are usually a good idea when deciding to maintain independence. Interior designers knowledgeable in Universal Design will be aware of the challenges that people face as they get older. Therefore, designers will usually design bathrooms with reinforced walls so that grab-bars can be installed, along with low or no-threshold showers, which will cut down on slips and falls by helping users keep their feet close to the ground. Entranceways might also be widened to accommodate wheelchair or walker usage and lighting may be increased to assist those with weaker vision. However, all the design elements in the world won't solve the problem of living alone if there are more serious problems than just aging - that's where homecare and rehab equipment comes in.

In the next 30 years, the U.S. population aged 65 and over will double to 70 million. About 80% of those over age 60 prefer to live independently. The most common medical conditions requiring home care are diabetes, heart disease, and cerebral vascular disease.

While numbers vary depending on sources, even the lower estimates put the number of Americans with an acute illness, a long-term medical condition, a permanent disability, or a terminal illness, at 8 million individuals. That number is well above the past projections by many top medical experts.

About 71% of the home health care patient population is over age 65 (approximately 955,200), as per the 2000 Census on Home Health Care Patients. The majority of this age group lives in the Northeast (73.6%) and the South (69.8%), with the Midwest (69.2%) and the West (65.7%) following close behind. There are a total of 1,355,300 home health care patients in all age groups, with 29.5% (400,100) under age 65.

Full story:

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