February 2010 Archives

Post-Lawsuit Press Release from Expedia

Image representing Expedia as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Reposting Expedia's PR:

Travelers in the U.S. can now visit Expedia.com to search for lodgings in the U.S. that offer accommodations including accessibility equipment for the deaf, accessible bathrooms, accessible paths of travel, Braille or raised signage, in-room accessibility, a roll-in shower and more.

Once a traveler finds suitable accommodations, they can request one or more of the specific accessibility features on Expedia.com's online Reservation Page. The Expedia.com Customer Service team will review the request and contact the hotel to ensure that the specific traveler requests are met, and will contact the traveler directly to confirm the reservation or to offer to locate a similar room at an equivalent rate at another hotel.

Expedia.com's call center has fielded approximately 500 requests per week utilizing this functionality since its initial rollout in August of 2009.  Expedia.com offers more than 15,000 hotels that publish accessibility options.

"We are thrilled to offer this new functionality to our travelers," said John Morrey, vice president, Expedia.com. "It was a much-needed part of the online travel booking process and we are proud to be able to meet the needs of disabled travelers who require accessible accommodations."

Source:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/expediacom-launches-new-accessibility-search-tools-for-disabled-travelers-84479647.html

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450 mm by 450 mm (18 in by 18 in) Handicapped ...

Image via Wikipedia

CHENNAI, 25 Jan: Southern Railway may have ramps and wheelchairs for disabled passengers at major stations, but it is not disabled-friendly when it comes to allotting berths for such passengers.


There have been complaints that in many instances lower berths were not allotted to disabled passengers even if reservation was done much in advance. Senior citizens too faced the problem.

"I had booked a ticket for a relative who is disabled people. But, they did not allot a lower berth even after I presented a medical certificate showing that the passenger was disabled and that she would not be able to climb up to any other berth," said Manoj Joy, a resident of Velachery.

"The staff at the counter told me to exchange the berth with some other passenger as it was difficult to allot a lower berth because all berths were occupied. I have often seen young people being allotted lower berths, while senior citizens are given upper or middle berths. Some people agree to exchange their berth, but not everyone is so compassionate," said S Ramachandran, a senior citizen and a frequent traveller by train.

Manoj Joy had to cancel his ticket and book again twice before he got a lower berth on a different date. K Gopinath, member, TN Welfare Board for Disabled feels the number of berths allotted for disabled people is inadequate. "The number of people travelling by train has increased, but the allocation for disabled people has not gone up proportionately," he said.

Activists and associations working for the rights of disabled people had protested when the railway converted a general compartment meant for disabled people into a reserved compartment recently. Shanthi, a Chennai resident who was accompanying Adhishwer Ram, a child with cerebral palsy from the city to Coimbatore by West Coast Express on confirmed reserved tickets recently had a tough time due to overcrowding in the coach meant exclusively for disabled people, in October. The compartment meant to accommodate two disabled persons and their escorts had over 60 people.

Southern Railway chief public relations officer VJ Accamma said that lower berths are allotted to disabled people and also senior citizens depending on availability. "Every train has four berths for disabled people in the portion near the guard's cabin. Apart from this, we have not allocated any particular number of lower berths for senior citizens or disabled in other coaches. Passengers can always make a last minute request for lower berth. We have given some of the lower berths meant for emergency quota for senior citizens in the last minute," she said.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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Paratletas na Regata Bertavel (Portuguese)


Think Beyond the Label Campaign Launch

Think Beyond the Label

Many myths still prevail about workers with disabilities. Get the facts and the tools you need to evolve your workforce!
Rhythm Impaired.jpg



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Quale gruppo ha di gran lunga il più alto tasso di aumento dei laureati? Quale gruppo ha un tasso elevato e continuo di conservazione di dipendenti fedeli in tutti i settori? Quale gruppo trae più beneficio dai progressi tecnici e dalle facilitazioni che si sviluppano così velocemente in questi giorni? Quale gruppo ha un grande potenziale per creare soluzioni innovative ai problemi organizzativi ed esterni, ma è più ignorato?

 

La risposta è chiaramente le persone con disabilità, secondo la definizione ADA. (ADA si intende per l'Americans with Disabilities Act).

 

Su suggerimento di Deborah Dagit, vice presidente e chief diversity officer di Merck & Co. (N. 8 del DiversityInc Top 50 Aziende per la Diversità) e fautrice principale per l'inclusione delle persone con disabilità, DiversityInc di recente ha convocato una tavola rotonda di esperti aziendali e governativi a Washington DC. Lo scopo era quello di esplorare cosa è che inibisce le organizzazioni dall'assumere e formare persone di talento con disabilità e quali soluzioni sono in grado di offrire organizzazioni innovative. Anche se abbiamo organizzato frequenti tavole rotonde, le vigorose discussioni e le sostanziali soluzioni di fondo, hanno dato risalto a questo, e ci piacerebbe condividerlo con voi.

 

Perché bisognerebbe assumere dipendenti con disabilità?

 

L'enfasi dell'assumere persone di questo gruppo deve spostarsi dalla filantropia ai vantaggi economici che può portare nel business, questo secondo il giudizio dei critici della materia. Come la comunità LGBT, le persone con disabilità - e i loro parenti e amici - sono clienti molto fedeli. "È stato dimostrato che le imprese che fanno davvero un buon lavoro di assistenza alle persone con disabilità, non solo ottengono il beneficio di fidelizzazione al marchio, ma anche altre persone che non hanno alcuna disabilità, vedono il lavoro di questa azienda in una luce più positiva", dice la Dagit. Kathy Martinez, assistente segretario del lavoro del US Office of Disability Employment Policy, sottolinea la necessità di rendere l'assunzione di persone con disabilità il succo del problema, problema che le organizzazioni non possono ignorare, perché può incidere su tutti. "La disabilità è parte della condizione umana," dice lei. "Spesso, le persone diventano disabili quando sono adulte. Ho sempre detto alla gente che l'ADA non era stato necessariamente approvato per una persona come me, che era nata cieca. So come essere cieca; essere cieca è normale per me. Ma per quella persona a cui capita di perdere la propria vista a causa di un incidente o altro, vogliamo lo stesso tipo di servizi che aveva in precedenza. "

 

Lori Golden concorda, sottolineando che molti lavoratori hanno disabilità non visibili, le cosiddette disabilità "nascoste", e la prevalenza delle persone con disabilità nei luoghi di lavoro influisce il modo di operare delle aziende. La Golden è il leader di AccessAbilities in Ernst & Young (n. 3).

 

" Molti di noi "baby boomer" che avevano sperato di andare in pensione ora non possono permetterselo," dice la Golden. "Restiamo al lavoro più a lungo e ora abbiamo anche molti progressi della medicina, che consentono alle persone con gravi malattie e condizioni di salute croniche di continuare a lavorare. Abbiamo anche progressi tecnologici che permettono alle persone di lavorare attraverso la realtà virtuale. Se non ci si rende conto che ci sono più persone con disabilità nei luoghi di lavoro, oramai, e non ci si regola in base a questo creando l'inclusione, si sta minando la produttività e non si sfrutta appieno l'investimento nel talento. "


 

I progressi tecnici cambiano il posto di lavoro

 

In IBM (n. 10), il manager of diversity and employee experience, Julie Baskin Brooks, dice che l'assunzione di persone con disabilità è "chiaramente un imperativo strategico di business. C'è una guerra per i talenti, e se non siamo inclusivi con questa quota crescente di talenti della nostra popolazione, perdiamo un occasione. IBM è una società di tecnologia, e questa è un'opportunità di business, fornendo adattamento IT (Information Technology) da parte dell'azienda".

 

Gli esperti notano che questo è un momento di trasformazione per le imprese moderne man mano che diventano più tecnicamente avanzate e creano maggiori opportunità per il telelavoro e luoghi di lavoro virtuale. Luke Visconti, CEO di DiversityInc, sottolinea che il costo medio singolo di sistemazioni per un lavoratore dipendente con una disabilità definita da ADA, è di $ 200, una cifra che La Starnes conferma. Perché, allora, con l'approciarsi, il 26 luglio 2010, del 20 ° anniversario della ADA, c'è ancora un alto tasso di disoccupazione per le persone con disabilità rispetto alla popolazione generale (44 per cento contro il 12 per cento)?

 

La Martinez dice che la risposta è semplice: la paura dell'assunzione. Le persone abili non vogliono vedersi ricordate le proprie potenzialità dalla presenza di persone disabili davanti a loro.

 

Come la Dagit, che ha l'osteogenesi imperfetta, dice: "Per ogni lavoro che mi sia mai capitato, sono stata respinta almeno 20 volte ogni volta che qualcuno entrava nella stanza e vedeva il mio aspetto. E perfino anche dopo avermi fatto volare attraverso tutto il paese in prima classe, perché il curriculum era esattamente ciò di cui avevano bisogno. Entravo nella stanza, la posizione era già stata occupata, e ritornavo indietro su un altro volo. "

 

Sensibilizzazione

 

La Martinez e la Starnes riportano che il Governo Federale sta guardando all'America aziendale per fornire leadership sulla consapevolezza della disabilità.

 

Nancy Starnes, direttore degli affari esterni per l'Organizzazione Nazionale sulla Disabilità, consiglia alle aziende di guardare i loro spot pubblicitari, le loro relazioni annuali, i loro siti web - tutte le chiavi per la comunicazione esterna del branding che hanno - e vedere se essi comprendono immagini e contenuti su persone con disabilità. E poi considerare le riunioni degli azionisti, in occasione di conferenze con clienti, e assicurarsi che ci siano le soluzioni.

 

La Golden osserva che vi è un termine usato nel Regno Unito, denominato "disability confidence" (fiducia nella disabilità). Quello che veramente intende è l'educazione e la sensibilizzazione. "Questo dovrebbe essere parte del nostro bagaglio standard. Non si tratta solo delle persone con disabilità, si tratta di ciascuno di noi, sapendo che siamo in grado di interagire con competenza con chiunque incontriamo" dice la Golden.

 

Cita la locandina che Ernst & Young prepara per il National Disability Employment Month ogni anno, che quest'anno ha incluso una foto di una persona dietro una scrivania, che è apparentemente un cliente. Due persone si trovano ad affrontare questa persona e la domanda posta è "Sei pronto?" La copia dice che se non si sa se guardare o meno l'interprete, allora non siete preparati.

 

Ci dice anche che Ernst & Young ha creato dei quiz di sensibilizzazione sulla disabilità, in particolare cosa fare se si fosse di fronte a una situazione che coinvolgesse un cliente. Afferma che "I giovani imparano molto rapidamente che si dovrebbe sapere queste cose".

 

La Baskin Brooks osserva che IBM sta lavorando per garantire che tutti i suoi dipendenti a livello mondiale siano sensibili alle parole e alle cosidette "microinequities", cioè piccoli gesti che possono facilmente offendere gli altri.

 

La Dagit aggiunge: "Quando ti siedi con un gruppo di persone, si sa subito se i loro comportamenti sono accessibili ai disabili."

 

Il Novantadue per cento dei membri della classifica DiversityInc Top 50 hanno ora gruppi di risorse per dipendenti rivolti alle persone con disabilità, rispetto al ventotto per cento di cinque anni fa.

 

Gruppi di risorse per dipendenti

 

Questi gruppi hanno rappresentato una fonte estremamente preziosa per trovare dipendenti di talento con disabilità, ricevendo il messaggio che l'organizzazione ha una cultura aziendale inclusiva, contribuendo a fornire soluzioni e assistenza nel processo di inserimento del personale.

 

In IBM, il disability employee group è stato fondamentale nello sviluppo di una nuova iniziativa globale chiamata Accessibility & Disability Central, che dispone di uno strumento per aiutare ad identificare le esigenze di sistemazione, le opzioni e le fonti, e quindi di monitorarne i progressi per assicurarsi che stiano lavorando bene e abbiano un positivo rapporto costo-efficacia. Un programma pilota è attualmente in corso.

 

Organizzazioni partner con disabilità

 

La Starnes cita i programmi che NOD attua per portare i lavoratori con disabilità più talentuosi nell' America aziendale, come il programma Start on Successs con circa 51 partner aziendali, che sta contribuendo a ottimizzare la sequenza di attività da svolgere e il lavoro con le scuole per avvicinare gli studenti delle scuole superiori alle società con stage triennali retribuiti.

 

L'ottantacinque per cento degli studenti di questo programma prosegue verso gli studi superiori, afferma la Starnes. Cita anche il progetto opportunità di carriera per gli studenti con disabilità (Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities - COSD), che trova stage per studenti universitari con disabilità, e programmi di assunzione di forza lavoro, come il progetto SEARCH, un programma di sviluppo di carriera per aiutare i ragazzi con disabilità delle scuole superiori a "trovare l'occupazione dei loro sogni".

 

Un fattore chiave, che si applica anche ad altri gruppi tradizionalmente sottorappresentati, è quello di prenderli in considerazione quando sono giovani e lavorare con le scuole.

 

"C'è davvero bisogno di ampliare il raggio d'azione al settimo grado scolastico (12-13 anni) perché influisca nel programma delle scuole medie e permetta di partecipare a corsi di preparazione universitaria nelle scuole superiori, che li prepari a entrare in college o università", afferma la Dagit. "Se gli studenti si sentono pienamente inclusi e parte integrante della classe, raggiungono i loro obiettivi. Ma vi è una crisi di basse aspettative ".

 

Per concludere: qualcosa di personale

 

La Martinez ricorda la sua infanzia, in una numerosa famiglia latino-americana, dove la sua casa era sempre la casa di tutti. La Martinez e una delle sue sorelle sono cieche e "gli altri bambini dopo aver avuto una sorta di disagio per i primi due secondi, e poi potendo vedere come i nostri fratelli si comportavano con noi non ci facevano più caso."

 

"Non si può legiferare sugli atteggiamenti, ma è possibile modificare i livelli di comfort delle persone", afferma la Martinez.

 

 

 

 

http://diversityinc.com/content/1757/article/6994/

 

Britain: A Failure to Serve PwD

Tourism for All UK logoBritain's leading travel companies are failing to serve the needs of disabled travellers, new research has found. 

The study, carried out [by Co-operative Travel with the assistance of Tourism for All, a British-based charity that specialises in travel for the disabled, found that 85 per cent of respondents did not believe travel agents understand the needs of disabled travellers, and 78 per cent did not feel they were catered for by high street agents. The survey also found that 35 per cent would not consider booking with a mainstream travel agent.

There are approximately 10 million adults and 750,000 children in the UK who suffer from some form of disability. It is estimated that a quarter of these regularly travel abroad.

Brian Seaman, head of consultancy at Tourism for All, said the travel industry needs to do more to understand the needs of disabled travellers.

"We have conducted independent research in the past by sending disabled travellers to the high street to find a disabled-friendly holiday to Majorca," he said. "In every case, not one travel agent was able to offer a product that might have resulted in a booking. The agents had great difficulty in finding suitable accommodation and when it came to visiting the accommodation on the island that they were able to find, they turned out not to be as accessible for disabled people as the agents had suggested."

Keith Richards, head of professional development at Abta, the travel association, admitted that the level of awareness of disability issues within its membership was not as high as it should be, but said there had been a big improvement in recent years.

"In June we will be launching our e-learning tool on accessible travel for all our members. We're developing this jointly with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to tackle the issues raised here," he said. "The services are mostly provided overseas where there is rarely any legal framework to provide access to goods and services generally, let alone hotel or tourism services. It is left to British tour operators and agents to try to find out how accessible a hotel is."

Jane Witherington, commercial and market development manager at the Co-operative Travel, which commissioned the Tourism for All research, has promised to improve its service to disabled travellers.

"We have launched a new tailored service aimed specifically at disabled travellers," she said, "and trained staff from 40 branches nationwide to ensure that they are up to speed with all aspects of holidays for people who require specialist travel."

This week Expedia, the online travel agent, launched new search tools designed to help disabled travellers find accessible accommodation. The move follows a court case in the US last year that resulted in Expedia being instructed to add content and search features to its websites that would allow people with disabilities to reserve rooms. The service is currently only available on the US website.

Leonard Cheshire, a British charity that supports disabled people, has given warning that many airports still fail to meet the needs of disabled passengers, despite EU laws introduced in 2008 that make it the responsibility of airports to provide assistance to disabled travellers. [ See: Leonard Cheshire article, July 2009].  The Civil Aviation Authority is close to completing its own report on how these laws have been implemented.


ENAT member logo

 




Tourism for All, UK is an ENAT Member.


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Reflections on Disability

                 "It is a lonely existence to be a child with a
disability which no-one can see or understand, you exasperate your
teachers, you disappoint your parents, and worst of all you know that
you are not just stupid." - Susan Hampshire

"Disability is not a brave struggle or 'courage in the
face of adversity.' Disability is an art. It's an ingenious way to
live." - Neil Marcus

"Congress acknowledged that society's accumulated myths
and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as are the
physical limitations that flow from actual impairment." - Justice
William J. Brennan

"As social movements mature, they begin to look beyond
the 'letter of the law', which emphasizes ethics and values, and
promulgate systemic changes in attitudes, behaviors and institutional
structures." - Leslie Kanes Weisman

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Introduce Unversal Design thinking a your local pechaha:



pk-haiti-logo.jpg



HELP YOUR CITY SET UP AN EVENT 

Some cities have already events planned before or after the 20th that cannot be moved. Some cities are having problems finding locations, but we hope these cities will still link up for a short "hello!" as the PechaKucha WAVE goes around the world. They might hold a small party while watching the live stream and getting ready for their few minutes of fame on the WAVE! Please support them, and perhaps help them find locations - these events might turn into mini or even full blown PechaKucha's. You have two weeks left. That is plenty of time. We have gotten this far in two weeks - organizing an event should be easy :-) 

HELP US FIND PRESENTERS 

As we go around the world we are very keen to find presenters with experience and ideas that relate to the many issues facing Haiti. Help us find people in your city with expertise and experience that might help the reconstruction efforts. 

In New York Zach Lieberman and the Free Art and Technology (FAT) unit will present their brilliant EyeWriter project. This may find use in Haiti as we begin to understand the number of amputations and crush injuries that have left people are unable to write with their hands http://www.eyewriter.org

In Stockholm, 28-year-old Brazilian architect Filipe Balestre, having worked with Rem Koolhaas but now living in Sweden, is deeply involved in social projects will be presenting about participatory architecture in Rio de Janeiro and India. You get the idea! With over 2000 presentations being made and recorded on or around the 20th we are going to have one amazing database of information to refer to and build on!


Resources: 

Amputados Vencedores


Palestrante na Área Segurança trabalho e Sipat/CIPA,Motivação e Superação www.amputadosvencedores.com.br

London Taxi in a Wheelchair

A short video clip on accessing a London taxi in a wheelchair.

From the Telegraph:

The study, carried out by Tourism for All, a British-based charity that specialises in travel for the disabled, found that 85 per cent of respondents did not believe travel agents understand the needs of disabled travellers, and 78 per cent did not feel they were catered for by high street agents. The survey also found that 35 per cent would not consider booking with a mainstream travel agent.


There are approximately 10 million adults and 750,000 children in the

Brian Seaman, head of consultancy at Tourism for All, said the travel industry needs to do more to understand the needs of disabled travellers.

 

"We have conducted independent research in the past by sending disabled travellers to the high street to find a disabled-friendly holiday to Majorca," he said. "In every case, not one travel agent was able to offer a product that might have resulted in a booking. The agents had great difficulty in finding suitable accommodation and when it came to visiting the accommodation on the island that they were able to find, they turned out not to be as accessible for disabled people as the agents had suggested."


For the full story:

Turismo Inclusivo (Spanish)


Desde YouTube:

El turismo constituye una de las formas principales de movilidad, tanto a nivel regional como internacional, promoviendo contactos sociales, culturales y étnicos en una escala antes desconocida. ¿Por qué negar entonces este derecho a una parte significativa de la población?.
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Brasil:

 

Publicado em 12 de Janeiro de 2010

A Câmara analisa o Projeto de Lei 5969/09, de autoria do   (PMDB-PB), que estabelece como infração deixar de dar preferência de passagem a pedestres com dificuldade de locomoção permanente ou mobilidade reduzida ou em veículo não motorizado.

A proposta modifica o Código de Trânsito Brasileiro (Lei 9503/97). Pela nova redação, além dos portadores de deficiência física, crianças, idosos e gestantes, também será considerada infração gravíssima quando um motorista não esperar que as pessoas com dificuldade de locomoção permanente ou mobilidade reduzida atravessem a rua.

O autor explica que, apesar de serem pessoas que não se enquadram no conceito de portador de deficiência, elas também, por qualquer motivo, provisório ou permanente, têm dificuldade de se movimentar, tendo a efetiva redução da sua mobilidade, flexibilidade, coordenação motora e percepção.

Definições

Segundo o texto, considera-se como uma pessoa com mobilidade reduzida aquela que, de forma temporária ou permanente, tem limitada a sua capacidade de se relacionar com o meio e de utilizá-lo.

"Entende-se por pessoa com mobilidade reduzida aquela com deficiência, a idosa, a obesa e a gestante, entre outros", exemplifica o deputado. Ele lembra que algumas destas condições limitadoras da mobilidade podem se configurar de natureza permanente ou se agravar com o passar do tempo. "Estas pessoas merecem ser tratadas com mais consideração", argumenta.

Tramitação

O projeto tem caráter conclusivo e será analisado pelas comissões de Viação e Transportes; e de Constituição e Justiça e de Cidadania.

Fonte: Câmara dosa Deputados Federais

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The full article will be online soon (and I am on my way back to the region.) In the meantime here's the cover photo of Forward the magazine of the Spinal Injuries Association.


Forward-cover-95-FEB.jpg


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Implementing disability-inclusive development in the Pacific and Asia:
Reviewing progress, planning the future

 

An international conference and action planning roundtable

15-17 September 2010

Darwin Convention Centre, Australia

 

FIRST NOTICE

 

Participate in reviews and discussion about practical actions being taken in the Pacific and Asia to ensure that local, national and international development includes people with disability. Review progress with the Australian Government's disability strategy "Development for All", and network with individuals, community groups, local, national and international organizations and government representatives involved in disability-inclusive development. You will be encouraged to contribute your experience and learn from that of others.

 

The two-day conference and one-day action-based roundtable seek practical ways for people with disabilities in the Asia Pacific region and Australian Aboriginal communities to best fulfil their human rights.

 

Join people with disability, disability practitioners, development workers, representatives of disabled people's organizations, community leaders, policy makers, politicians, aid donors, development contractors, academics, government and non government organisations from the Pacific, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Europe in an informed discussion of improving inclusion for persons with disability. The conference will be structured around presentation of papers, discussion, short case studies, workshop sessions on key themes and an opportunity to participate in a one-day roundtable.    

 

THE PROGRAM

The conference will explore: 

·         Progress in implementing disability-inclusive programs, with practical experience from the region   - capacity building, vocational training, community involvement, education, health, livelihoods, gender.

·         Best practice in implementing disability-inclusive development - how DPOs and people with disabilities are working to improve inclusion and equity.

·         Experience in addressing disability in Australian indigenous communities.

·         The economic impact of disability inclusive development.

·         Disability research needs.

·         The impact of policies, legislation and international conventions on action.

 

The roundtable will allow in-depth discussion on:

·         Key experiences in implementing disability-inclusive development.

·         Developing effective partnerships and networks.

·         Expanding partnerships for research, advocacy, service delivery and capacity building.

·         Measuring success and sharing information.

·         Planning for the future.

 

THE SPEAKERS

The conference, workshops and roundtable will include international, regional, national and community-based speakers and discussants.  They will provide a wide range of hands on experience in implementing disability-inclusive development.

 

 

 

EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

Discuss, network, build capacity, learn, contribute, meet old friends and make new ones in Darwin, September 15-17, 2010.

 

Please email your interest in attending and any special needs you may have.  We will notify you as soon as registration is available.

 

Christine Walton,  ADDC, 

cwalton@cbm.org.au

Dr Pamela Thomas, Australian National University, Pamela.thomas@anu.edu.au

 

REGISTRATION FEES

Registration fees are:

Two-day conference

Government/Institutions/Companies              $660 per person

Individuals and members of NGOs                $550 per person

People with disabilities and students               $330 per person

Roundtable (optional)

All participants                                                 $165 per person

Conference Dinner with Ted Egan

 (Darwin Sailing Club)                                     $  75 (optional)

 

Inclusions: Registration fees include morning and afternoon teas, lunch, welcome reception and drinks at Parliament House, Darwin (14th), cocktails and tour of Crocosaurus Cove (15th); farewell drinks (16th); cocktails after Roundtable (17th).

 

Accommodation: Special accommodation rates are currently being negotiated.  There are excellent hotels with fully disability-accessible rooms.

Collaboration: The conference is organized by the ADDC and ANU in close collaboration with ACFID, NDS and the Darwin-based organisations Integrated Disability Action and Sommerville Community Services Inc.

 

 

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News from Whirlwind Wheelchairs

PBS NewsHour to cover Whirlwind's Efforts in Haiti
   
Whirlwind's campaign to provide our RoughRider wheelchair in Haiti will be covered by the PBS Newshour tonight (or tomorrow).  Check your showtime here:  www.pbs.org/tvschedules/
The piece will focus on how Whirlwind and our partner
on the ground, Handicap International, will help newly disabled Haitians regain their mobility as they begin to rebuild their communities. Here are some behind-the-scene shots:



Filming the RoughRider in Action


And Coverage of our SFSU Class



Other Media Coverage



The PBS NewsHour story will not be Whirlwind's first media coverage of wheelchairs for Haiti. Ralf made an apparence on the local CBS 5 news last week. To see the news segment click here. Marc, our Executive Director, also taped a short radio segment for KCBS. To listen click here
.
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Disasters have a way of exposing the veiled - like strains between Haitian DPOs.

What are some roles an intentional community play in reconciliation and capacity-building? One may be indirect as a Community of Practice that changes local power dynamics while respecting local expertise.

I have been pondering similarities between Africa's poorest nation and South America's and wrote "On Haiti & Mozambique: Development Strategies That Adopt Inclusive Tourism." What is lacking is a Community of Practice that is aroused to transform the promise of Inclusive Tourism into reality in Haiti.

Following the World Bank-funded southern African regional seminar on Inclusive Tourism in Maputo. Mozambique March 1-3, 2010 a Community of Practice (CoP) will be launched publicly.

World Bank logo.

Image via Wikipedia


The focus area arises from the converging interests of practitioners in development, tourism, and disability advocacy in regions as as diverse as Africa, Europe, and Asia. It incorporates individuals and organizations involved in projects as specific as post-disaster recovery in in Haiti, pre-FIFA development in Brazil, and the sustainability of traditional culture through innovative Universal Design projects such as Japan's Takayama City.

So, what is a community of practice?

CIO Insight in a 2002 article interviews Etienne Wenger on the distinction between Knowledge Management and Communities of Practice

Our tweak would be to make explicit the role of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in any fully-functional CoP. Application of Universal Design generally and UDL specifically is a cross-cutting issue with special importance to Wenger's later category of the Identification-Negotiability Duality of Communities of Practice.

A very good discussion exists by Mark K. Smith at http://www.infed.org/ on CoP with conclusions for educators. An excerpt:

The characteristics of communities of practice

According to Etienne Wenger (c 2007), three elements are crucial in distinguishing a community of practice from other groups and communities:

The domain. A community of practice is is something more than a club of friends or a network of connections between people. 'It has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain, and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people' (op. cit.).

The community. 'In pursuing their interest in their domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other' (op. cit.).

The practice. 'Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems--in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction' (op. cit.).

Relationships, identity and shared interests and repertoire

A community of practice involves, thus, much more than the technical knowledge or skill associated with undertaking some task. Members are involved in a set of relationships over time (Lave and Wenger 1991: 98) and communities develop around things that matter to people (Wenger 1998). The fact that they are organizing around some particular area of knowledge and activity gives members a sense of joint enterprise and identity. For a community of practice to function it needs to generate and appropriate a shared repertoire of ideas, commitments and memories. It also needs to develop various resources such as tools, documents, routines, vocabulary and symbols that in some way carry the accumulated knowledge of the community. In other words, it involves practice (see praxis): ways of doing and approaching things that are shared to some significant extent among members.

Source: http://www.infed.org/biblio/communities_of_practice.htm

Smith suggests the following:

Further reading

Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger (1991) Situated Learning. Legitimate peripheral participation, Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press. 138 pages. Pathbreaking book that first developed the idea that learning 'is a process of participation in communities of practice, participation that is at first legitimately peripheral but that increases gradually in engagement and complexity'.

Rogoff, B., Turkanis, C. G. and Bartlett, L. (eds.) (2001) Learning Together: Children and Adults in a School Community, New York: Oxford University Press. 250 + x pages. Arising out of the collaboration of Barbara Rogoff (who had worked with Jean Lave) with two teachers at an innovative school in Salt Lake City, this book explores how they were able to develop an approach to schooling based around the principle that learning 'occurs through interested participation with other learners'.

Etienne Wenger (1999) Communities of Practice. Learning, meaning and identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 318 + xv pages. Extended discussion of the concept of community of practice and how it might be approached within organizational development and education.


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Accessible Holiday Spot in Australia

Forwarded from Disability News Asia update:

Feb 14: When Belinda Wardlaw (pictured) was 11, doctors told her parents she probably wouldn't live beyond 16 years.

Belinda Wardlaw at the Sunshine Coast holiday house where she organises for people with disabilities to stay.

 

She turns 47 this year and not only defied the odds by surviving the rare Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy - a degenerative disorder that causes muscles to gradually waste away - but also had a child, something she was told would not be possible.

Ms Wardlaw, of Peregian Springs on the Sunshine Coast has been confined to a wheelchair since becoming pregnant with her son, Edward now aged 13 and more than 183 cm tall. She and her husband separated when their son was a toddler so Ms Wardlaw raised him as a single mum.

Her condition hasn't dampened her entrepreneurial spirit or her endeavours to improve the lives of the aged, infirmed or others with physical disabilities, and their carers.

In 2006, Ms Wardlaw gathered her $1 and $2 coins and with $250 started her business BE Lifestyle Retreats that offers short- or long-term alternatives to institutionalised care.

The business now employs 10 fully-qualified staff and includes a retreat at Cooran in the Noosa hinterland that accommodates four people and a four-bedroom holiday house at Peregian Springs.

Special features of the accommodation include electric beds, pressure mattresses, hoists and commode chairs as well as wheelchair access and wheelchair accessible vehicle pick-up and delivery service. Picnic packages and tours to wheelchair accessible venues can be organised.

She said she was frustrated with the level of care she was given when she first needed it and her high expectations have helped her provide what her clients need.

"We want to empower disabled people and the frail aged so they can enjoy a high quality and socially-included life through individually tailoring care services and providing community interaction," she said.

She has championed the rights of the disabled at federal and state government levels and started the Queenslanders with a Disability Network.

Source: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au



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O governador de São Paulo, José Serra (PSDB), entrou nesta segunda-feira (15) no mar com tênis, calça jeans e camiseta tipo polo na Praia da Guilhermina, na Praia Grande, durante o lançamento do projeto Praia Acessível - que vai oferecer cadeiras de rodas adaptadas para que deficientes físicos possam tomar banho de mar.
 

Serra evitou falar de política, mas, no melhor estilo pré-eleitoral, aproveitou a praia lotada em pleno feriado de carnaval para acompanhar os cerca de 20 deficientes que estrearam as cadeiras. Empurrou uma delas, entrou no mar até que o nível da água atingisse a altura da cintura e brincou de jogar água no grupo durante cerca de cinco minutos.

Serra decidiu empurrar uma das cadeiras assim que ouviu a sugestão um popular e, ao que tudo indica, também resolveu entrar no mar com roupa e tudo em cima da hora: não havia qualquer assessor com uma toalha e o governador retornou ao carro oficial encharcado.

O governador aparentava cansaço depois das viagens recentes ao Nordeste nos últimos dias. O lançamento do projeto Praia Acessível ocorreu em uma tenda montada na Praia de Guilhermina. A ideia é distribuir cerca de cem cadeiras, na primeira fase, entre diversas praias do litoral (as primeiras serão Guilhermina; Perequê, em Ilhabela; e Boqueirão, em Santos). Compareceram ao evento os prefeitos de Peruíbe, Mongaguá, Guarujá e Bertioga e os vice-prefeitos de Praia Grande, São Vicente e Itanhaém.

 

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Top10 Reasons
View more presentations from Scott Rains.

Text Version:

1. Improved sensitivity means less conflict and less chance of litigation. Sweeping new Federal legislation greatly expands the number of people in the "protected class".

2. 18% of adults have a disability according to the US Census. Most of these disabilities would not be obvious to the casual observer.

3. The community of people with disabilities accounts for $220 Billion in discretionary income annually, money used for vacations, cruises, cars, technology and more. Take into account friends and family and this figure soars.

4. This community is growing at the rate of 25% per year due to aging Boomers, increased longevity, returning veterans with disabilities and other reasons.

5. Children's disabilities are escalating as medical advances save children's lives and as syndromes like Autism escalate: 1 in 90 boys are on the Autism spectrum, and in addition nearly 5 million children have learning disabilities.

6. It's a passionate cohort: one bad act on the part of an organization toward a loved one with a disability will resound, whereas one good act will anchor respect and loyalty.

7. Many well meaning people lack the know-how to effectively serve people with disabilities.

8. Many organizations have documented growth in customer satisfaction and profitability following improved service to people with disabilities.

9. Improved sensitivity means better employee morale as employees understand themselves and their reactions better.

10. Improved sensitivity toward people with disabilities translates to more sensitive and skillful service for all people.

www.disabilityetiquettetraining.com

845 353 4470
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Summer Spanish Courses in Madrid

 Language learning opportunity from iberlengua.com:

The project consists of Summer Spanish Courses in Madrid fully accessible in addition to classes organized with many interesting cultural activities so that students can learn more about Spanish culture.  We may consider it as Cultural Tourism learning Spanish with all the facilities. Our organization has extensive experience in students with disabilities. We are members of the ENAT and we collaborate with Mobility International USA.

The courses are taught in a University Residence fully accessible and in which students with disabilities live. Teachers are trained to meet the needs of students with disabilities.

We have organized programs of 15 days and of one month and we have designed them in a way in which the price includes lessons, all activities, residence and meals. In our opinion the prices are very attractive due to what they include.

You can find more information www.iberlengua.com or info@iberlengua.com.
General Manager

 
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Brasil: Praias e Rodas (Portuguese)

Meta é oferecer plena acessibilidade na praia à pessoa com deficiência.

A Secretaria dos Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência testou no sábado, 30, no Canal 3 em Santos, uma cadeira de rodas anfíbia que facilitará acesso ao lazer de quem tem dificuldade de locomoção. O objetivo dessa iniciativa é oferecer plena acessibilidade na praia à pessoa com deficiência.

A cadeira de rodas anfíbia possui rodas largas para evitar que ela afunde e dispõe de uma barra para auxiliar a movimentação na areia ou entrada e saída da água.

Após diversos testes com o protótipo da cadeira, a Secretaria dos Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência pretende, em um primeiro momento, encomendar 100 equipamentos que serão entregues aos municípios litorâneos.

Os critérios para os municípios receberem a cadeira de rodas anfíbia ainda serão definidos pela pasta. O primeiro item é a praia oferecer condições mínimas de acessibilidade, rampas, piso tátil, vagas específicas, banheiros acessíveis e postos de salvamento, o que já ocorre no Canal 3, em Santos.

A cadeira ficará disponível no posto de salvamento ou em outro estabelecimento público localizado na praia. O usuário receberá instrução sobre como utilizá-la e terá um limite de tempo de uso. "Todos têm direito ao lazer e a maioria das praias não têm condições de acessibilidade, por isso a iniciativa", diz o coordenador de Acessibilidade da Secretaria dos Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência, Marco Pellegrini.

O País tem hoje 24,5 milhões de pessoas com algum tipo de deficiência. Esse número representa 14,5% da população brasileira.

Fonte: Secretaria de Estado dos Direitos das Pessoas com Deficiência - SP

http://www.saopaulo.sp.gov.br/spnoticias/lenoticia.php?id=207539&c=5337&q=Governo+testa+cadeira+de+rodas+que+auxilia+pessoas+com+deficiência+na+praia

Accessible Denmark

Sandra Rhodda at Access Tourism new Zealand notes:

VisitDenmark has recognized that for people with disabilities to have successful holidays, there must be good physical accessibility to transportation, accommodation, restaurants, museums, and entertainment.  There also must be access to good reliable information about accessibility so that the people can plan holidays appropriate to them.  Therefore, VisitDenmark has, in co-operation with the Danish disability organisations and the tourism industry set up the association "Accessibility for All" with the purpose of running a new tourism labelling scheme for accessibility.

Full story:
http://www.accesstourismnz.org.nz/2010/02/denmark-access-tourism-labelling-scheme/
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Smith in 2006

Image via Wikipedia

In a direct confrontation between cost-cutting business policies that contradict Universal Design's user-centered design approach and try to cram passengers into ever smaller spaces Kevin Smith get's squeezed:

Kevin Smith's most famous role is a guy who rarely speaks. But he's got a lot to say - much of it profane - after being kicked off a Southwest Air flight because he didn't fit comfortably into the seat.
Read the article:

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20344142,00.html
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How does Hilton rate on room accessibility or ease of online booking with a disability in your experience? Is their commitment to inclusion matching their drive for construction?

Sistema RIT de Curitiba, Brazil

Image via Wikipedia

In 2009, despite major challenges for the hospitality industry overall, Hilton Worldwide added 302 new hotels and more than 45,000 rooms to a total count that is now more than 3,500 hotels and 585,000 rooms. In 2008, Hilton Worldwide opened 327 properties. Building on the record year the company had in terms of development in 2008, the next best year in the company's 91-year history was 2009.

For the fourth consecutive year, Hilton Worldwide opened more newly-constructed guest rooms in the US than any other company. Additionally, Hilton Worldwide's pipeline includes more than 900 hotels with more than 129,000 rooms scheduled to open.

Source:

http://www.eturbonews.com/14062/hilton-worldwide-opens-more-properties-last-2-years-any-other-pe


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On the Radar at Huffington Post

The Huffington Post

Image via Wikipedia


Don't Overlook People With Disabilities In Haiti

(Huffington Post)
February 9, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI--  Even before the earthquake struck, some
800,000 persons in Haiti were living with disabilities, including 200,000
children. An estimated 194,000-250,000 people were injured in the
earthquake, many of whom will suffer long-term disabilities. Handicap
International estimates that there are at least 2,000 new amputees.

People with disabilities are often overlooked, neglected and forgotten in
disaster relief and humanitarian response. Yet they are among the most
vulnerable of the affected, particularly if they have lost their
traditional caregivers-extended families and neighbors. The organization I
work for, the Women's Refugee Commission, has identified problems faced by
displaced people living with disabilities in settings around the world-and
proposed solutions. We have outlined some key activities to help the people
of Haiti who have sustained disabling injuries.

Humanitarian agencies and others working in Haiti must take these people's
needs, concerns and abilities into account when designing and implementing
programs and activities in order to promote access, inclusion and the full
participation of persons with disabilities. This is true whether providing
shelter, food, water and sanitation, health services, education or
livelihoods.

Since people with disabilities are often kept hidden out of sight or are
unable to reach registration centers, special efforts must be made to
locate and register them to ensure they receive the services they need.


Complete article:
Don't Overlook People With Disabilities in Haiti
http://www.InclusionDaily.com/news/2010/red/0209d.htm
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The New PwD Community in Haiti

Ralf Hotchkiss is founder and Chief Engineer at Whirlwind Wheelchair. Ralf is speaking about Whirlwind's efforts to assist newly disabled Haitians after the earthquake in January 2010. T

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From IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center

Travel and tourism is big business. Seeing new places, meeting new people and experiencing other cultures can provide a new appreciation and understanding of our world. The State of Georgia has a heritage as a transportation, logistics and civil / human rights center, and the state is fortunate to be home to many world-class attractions and destinations.

Yet, residents and visitors with disabilities can encounter obstacles when they travel for business or for pleasure. Airlines, airports, hotels, attractions and restaurants often unintentionally put up barriers such as unwieldy doors, cramped seating areas, inaccessible restrooms, or inaccessible exhibit content and communication technologies. In addition, a lack of customer service personnel who have adequate training to serve travelers with disabilities can be an impediment.

In Georgia, tourism is the second largest industry bringing an estimated $20 billion each year into the regional economy. The strong information technology industry - combined with the region's identity as a hospitality center -- means the region is ripe for accessibility innovation. According to the Open Door Organization (ODO) / Harris Interactive® Market Study on Travelers with Disabilities, 11 out of 54 million persons with disabilities in the U.S. travel each year spending $13.6 billion. And, 38% of travelers with disabilities say they have traveled to Atlanta, making it the 8th-ranked destination city in the country.1 The same ODO/Harris Polling Market Study showed that most of these travelers take advantage of destinations that they already know are accessible, and examples from other regions are proving this point. Studies suggest that these travelers would double their spending if some minor amenities were made available. Meet and greet programs at airports, preferred seating on airplanes, hotel rooms closer to amenities, and employees who go out of their way to accommodate guests with disabilities topped the list.


Bill Curtis-Davidson, IBM Accessibility
Business Development Executive, and
Arthur R. Murphy, of Aeolian Solutions
LLC, Co-Chairs of the Georgia Alliance
for Accessible Technologies.


Bill Curtis-Davidson, IBM Accessibility
Business Development Executive and
Co-Chair of the Georgia Alliance for
Accessible Technologies addresses
attendees of the 9th Annual "Making a
Difference" Discovery Day in Atlanta,
Georgia USA on December 18, 2009.


Key executives and speakers at the 9th
Annual "Making a Difference" Discovery
Day in Atlanta, Georgia USA on December
18, 2009, from left to right: (1) Kenneth C.
Stewart, Commissioner, Georgia
Department of Economic Development;
(2) Eric Lipp, Executive Director, Open
Doors Organization; (3) Axel Leblois,
Executive Director, G3ict; and (4) John D.
Kemp, Executive Director, USBLN®.

Recently, a public-private partnership -- the Georgia Alliance for Accessible Technologies (GAAT) Initiative -- has been formed to help make inclusive travel and tourism a reality in Georgia. Over 60 Georgia-based companies, research and academic institutions, NGOs and public sector organizations have become involved in the initiative, which IBM is co-chairing. Formed in 2009, this partnership is currently planning for more formal business operations and pursuing specific projects such as the development of a website to summarize accessibility information for the region's travel, transportation and tourism destinations.

On December 16, 2009, an executive briefing to formally debut the GAAT Partnership was held in Atlanta. The executive briefing was organized in collaboration with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, serving as their 9th Annual Making a Difference Discovery Day.

Key sponsors for the event included:

Air Serv Corporation, Delta Air Lines and IBM also served as partners for the event.

Richard Warner, CEO of What's Up Interactive and host of Georgia's Business (Georgia Public Broadcasting GPB-TV), moderated the event. GAAT Co-Chair and IBM representative Bill Curtis-Davidson presented an overview of the GAAT Partnership, and announced the release of a "Georgia Inclusive Travel & Tourism Concept Paper" developed by the Partnership that presents the business case for implementing a statewide inclusive travel and tourism effort that would benefit state and local governments, residents and visitors. A copy of this concept paper is publicly available in Microsoft® Word® format and in Adobe® PDF® format.

Eric Lipp, Founder and Executive Director of Open Doors Organization (ODO), was the keynote speaker at the December 16th event. Since its founding in 2000, ODO has produced two Market Studies with Harris Interactive® that describe the market need for accessibility in travel, transportation and tourism. Eric described how ODO, working with State of Illinois and City of Chicago tourism, developed Easy Access Chicago, an online and supplementary print guide that describes accessibility features at popular destinations such as restaurants and hotels in Chicago. "What surprised us the most is that the guide was flying off the shelves for people who were citizens -- the users weren't strictly travelers or tourists," Lipp said. "The initial 10,000 guides flew off the shelves and the guide is in its second printing."

The Easy Access Chicago guide is unique in that it provides sensible information that people with a wide variety of abilities could find helpful. For example, it provides a detailed guide of city transportation, from the airport to the subway to the bus system. "What we've set out to do is to tell you everything," Lipp said. "When we talk about inclusion, we mean for everyone."

Other leading organizations who spoke at the December 16th Georgia event included:

IBM applauds the State of Georgia, City of Atlanta and the Georgia Alliance for Accessible Technologies Partnership for their leadership in Georgia's inclusive travel and tourism efforts.


1 Open Doors Organization/Harris Interactive® Market Study: "Research Among Adults with Disabilities: Travel & Hospitality" (2005) (PDF, 17.9KB)

Source:

http://www-03.ibm.com/able/news/georgiainclusivetravel.html



From Making a Difference magazine:

ATLANTA -- The Winter 2010 edition of Making a Difference highlighted the annual Discovery Day event that happened on December 16. Discovery Day brings together professionals and disability advocates to discuss practical visions for an all-inclusive world. This year's theme was "Making Accessible Travel and Tourism a Reality in Georgia."

"Our ultimate goal is to bring together the diverse spectrum of Georgia citizens and use their talents to create an inclusive society," said Tom Seegmueller, chairperson of GCDD. Discovery Day brought together experts in travel and tourism from across the country.

Bill Curtis-Davidson of IBM and Arthur Murphy of Aeolian Solutions introduced "Georgia Inclusive Travel & Tourism," the inaugural white paper from the Georgia Alliance for Accessible Technologies, which proposes a coordinated effort to work toward inclusive travel and tourism in Georgia. As tourism is the second largest industry in Georgia, advocates are cheering the state on to become a leader to the rest of the United States and to the world.

GCDD collaborated with G3ict, Harstfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Renaissance Concourse Hotel, and partnered with Airserv, Delta Air Lines and IBM.



Making a Difference is published by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. Current and past issues are available in accessible formats online at www.gcdd.org. GCDD is an independent state agency, funded by federal grants, that works to foster a better understanding of the challenges, concerns and lifestyles of people with disabilities in Georgia. To accomplish this goal, GCDD collaborates with a broad coalition of organizations, agencies and individuals, all working to improve the quality of life for Georgians with disabilities.


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More than 6,000 Canadian Forces members and discharged veterans who are receiving physical or psychiatric disability benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada have either served in Afghanistan or have a disability that has been related to their service in Afghanistan, the department says.

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CHENNAI, 25 Jan: Southern Railway may have ramps and wheelchairs for disabled passengers at major stations, but it is not disabled-friendly when it comes to allotting berths for such passengers.


There have been complaints that in many instances lower berths were not alloted to disabled passengers even if reservation was done much in advance. Senior citizens too faced the problem.

"I had booked a ticket for a relative who is disabled people. But, they did not allot a lower berth even after I presented a medical certificate showing that the passenger was disabled and that she would not be able to climb up to any other berth," said Manoj Joy, a resident of Velachery.

"The staff at the counter told me to exchange the berth with some other passenger as it was difficult to allot a lower berth because all berths were occupied. I have often seen young people being allotted lower berths, while senior citizens are given upper or middle berths. Some people agree to exchange their berth, but not everyone is so compassionate," said S Ramachandran, a senior citizen and a frequent traveller by train.

Manoj Joy had to cancel his ticket and book again twice before he got a lower berth on a different date. K Gopinath, member, TN Welfare Board for Disabled feels the number of berths allotted for disabled people is inadequate. "The number of people travelling by train has increased, but the allocation for disabled people has not gone up proportionately," he said.

Activists and associations working for the rights of disabled people had protested when the railway converted a general compartment meant for disabled people into a reserved compartment recently. Shanthi, a Chennai resident who was accompanying Adhishwer Ram, a child with cerebral palsy from the city to Coimbatore by West Coast Express on confirmed reserved tickets recently had a tough time due to overcrowding in the coach meant exclusively for disabled people, in October. The compartment meant to accommodate two disabled persons and their escorts had over 60 people.

Southern Railway chief public relations officer VJ Accamma said that lower berths are allotted to disabled people and also senior citizens depending on availability. "Every train has four berths for disabled people in the portion near the guard's cabin. Apart from this, we have not allocated any particular number of lower berths for senior citizens or disabled in other coaches. Passengers can always make a last minute request for lower berth. We have given some of the lower berths meant for emergency quota for senior citizens in the last minute," she said.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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Policy Developments in India

It is always instructive to read what Javed Abidi has to say from India. He is India's father of Inclusive Tourism - and so much more - for the disability community. He posts here:

http://javedabidi.blogspot.com/

For further background on a current issue in India see the following press release:

Friday, February 05, 2010


Consultative Committee meeting of Social Justice & Empowerment Ministry deliberates on Amendments to Disability Act

The Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Shri Mukul Wasnik has said that the consultations with regard to the amendments to the Persons with Disability Act, 1995 are still on and a road-map is being drawn to finalize the changes which would be so wide-ranging that the present Act might have to be replaced by an altogether new Act. He was addressing the meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment here today.

Chairing the Meeting, Shri Wasnik said that an elaborate exercise has been done to formulate the amendments to the PwD Act and draft amendments were sent to the States and Central Ministries and were also placed on the Ministry's website in September last, inviting comments and suggestions. "There has been an overwhelming response to the Ministry's proposals and several State Governments, Union Ministries and stakeholders including NGOs have sent their comments and suggestions on the proposed amendments", the Minister said and added that these are under examination and a final draft would be prepared as soon as possible.

Shri Wasnik also emphasized that all viewpoints would be seriously considered, so that expectations of the PwDs are met and the amended law is effective enough to make a tangible change in their lives.

A Presentation was made at the Meeting and the salient features of the proposed amendments were explained to the Members. The proposed changes are in the area of definitions, education, health care, employment and monitoring structure etc.

Participating in the discussion, the Members generally welcomed the exercise to comprehensively amend the PwD Act and stressed the need to examine its proper implementation at the ground level. In particular, they suggested need for simplification of certification procedure, enhanced disability pension, proper implementation of reservation for PwDs, skilled training for self employment and adequate awareness generation about disability issues.

Responding to the Members suggestions, the Minister said that any further suggestions by them, based on in-depth study of the proposed amendments, would be considered seriously. He promised to complete the exercise in a comprehensive and expeditious manner, taking all viewpoints into consideration. He also apprised the Members that his Ministry had become the first central ministry of have made its website accessible to PwDs.

The Members who attended the Meeting were : Smt. Usha Verma, Sh. Rudra Madhab Ray, Sh. Shakti Mohan Malik, Sh. Thangso Baite and Sh. P.L. Punia.


Source:

http://www.pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=57663


As I look at the Concept Note describing our upcoming seminar on Inclusive Tourism in Mozambique and read comments on Haiti's tourism I see parallels -- and opportunities:

Topography map of Hispaniola.

Image via Wikipedia

Haiti was getting ready to capitalise on its sunny weather and tropical scenery to attract tourist to that impoverished island nation when the magnitude-7.0 earthquake rocked the French-speaking country, killing an estimated 200,000 and leaving millions homeless.

New hotels, new attention from international investors and buzz among travellers who have visited in recent years seem to signal a renewed interest in Haiti as a destination. Just two hours away by plane from Miami, Florida, the country had one of the strongest tourist industries in the Caribbean in the 1950s and '60s, according to Americas, the magazine of the Organisation of American States.

However, things began to change with the deterioration of the political climate.

Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic, Haiti's neighbour on the island of Hispaniola, welcomed almost four million people in 2008, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation.
Source:
http://www.eturbonews.com/14258/tourism-could-play-critical-role-haitis-recovery

Talk of "re-inventing Haiti" has even gone at far as UNWTO. Carlos Vogeler, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation's (UNWTO's) regional representative for the Americas recently commented:

Tourism can be one of the vehicles which can help Haiti to not go back to where they were because they were not in very good shape, but to go to a much better condition than the one they had before.

Note this article on RollingRains.com from before the earthquake, "Can Haiti be Brought Back into The World Tourism Circuit?"

In light of the recent disaster and world mobilization to rebuild the country I would say that the answer is, "Yes, if Inclusive Destination development is practiced."

I recommend that Haitian delegates attend the March 1-3 World Bank funded conference in Maputo on tourism, development, and disability. There we can transfer some relevant knowledge to Haiti through these delegates and plan a more tailored event for the country and for relief and reconstruction entities there.

Listen to Haiti's Tourism Minister Patrick Delatour and get a picture of the situation at:  http://www.theworld.org/tag/patrick-delatour/
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Jangada adaptada

A embarcação, agora, tem espaço para acomodar duas cadeiras de rodas, cercada por toda a segurança.

José Batista, de 35 anos. Luiz Carlos, de 52. Ambos são cadeirantes. Faz tempo que eles sonhavam com algo que estava muito perto deles: as piscinas naturais de Maceió. Mas como chegar lá?

"Quando é que um dia eu vou poder chegar até a beira-mar, pegar uma jangada e conhecer as piscinas naturais?", questiona o gestor de marketing José Batista.

"Conhecer, realmente, isso que é uma atração turística da nossa cidade de Maceió", comenta o presidente da Associação de Deficientes Físicos de Alagoas Luiz Carlos Santos.

O caminho do sonho de José e Luiz começou a aparecer quando um arquiteto carioca teve uma idéia inusitada.

"Fui ao primeiro encontro internacional de pessoas com deficiência em Brasília. Aqueles quatro dias convivendo com 800, 900 pessoa com deficiência me trouxe uma grandeza interior e pessoal tão grande", lembra o arquiteto Jorge Luiz Silva.

Essa "grandeza" tomou forma de jangada. Tem 6,5 metros de comprimento, dois de largura e, finalmente, deu acesso a quem não pode frequentar a praia.

Leia o restante da matéria no link abaixo

http://www.jornalfloripa.com.br/brasil/ver_info_jornalfloripa.asp?NewsID=3269

Fonte: Jornal Floripa


Maceió ganha a primeira jangada acessível do Brasil

Projeto é uma conquista para os portadores de necessidades especiais


A primeira jangada acessível do Brasil partiu para o mar da Pajuçara nesta quarta-feira (dia 3), às 11h, rumo às piscinas naturais. A bordo da embarcação, os alagoanos Luiz Cavalcante e José Batista, cadeirantes que, pela primeira vez, tiveram a oportunidade de conhecer o maior cartão postal da capital alagoana, com segurança e conforto.

"Estou emocionado em conhecer as piscinas naturais, e mais ainda porque os portadores de necessidades especiais agora contam com uma jangada adaptada para acesso ao lazer", explicou Batista.

O projeto da Jangada Acessível, desenvolvido pelo arquiteto Jorge Luiz, foi idealizado dentro da disciplina de Ergonomia, que disponibiliza ferramentas metodológicas para o desenvolvimento do projeto, que também conta com apoio logístico da Secretaria Municipal de Promoção do Turismo (Semptur), da Superintendência Municipal de Controle do Convívio Urbano (SMCCU) e da Associação dos Deficientes Físicos de Alagoas (Adefal).

O presidente da Adefal, Luiz Carlos Santana, considerou que o projeto é uma conquista de cidadania. "As piscinas naturais são conhecidas nacionalmente, e agora, com esse equipamento, tornam-se acessíveis também para os portadores de necessidades especiais, que têm mais essa opção de lazer", disse Luiz Carlos. Segundo ele, o apoio da Prefeitura de Maceió, por meio da Secretaria Municipal de Turismo, foi essencial para dar o suporte legal ao projeto. "Nossa próxima tarefa é conseguir novos parceiros para construir mais três jangadas", disse ele.

A turista carioca Luiza Cantuário, que fazia o passeio às piscinas pela terceira vez com seus filhos, considerou o projeto da jangada fantástico. "Quando chegar ao Rio de Janeiro, vou mostrar fotos da jangada acessível de Maceió na escola. Seria ótimo que na minha cidade também tivesse uma jangada assim para democratizar o lazer", disse Luíza.

Foi o pescador e carpinteiro Sidney Cícero da Silva, conhecido como Dinho, quem construiu a jangada, e ele levou a família para conferir o resultado. "Antes, muitos deficientes tinham medo de fazer o passeio. Em alguns casos era preciso amarrar a cadeira no barco. Agora eles fazem o passeio na sua própria cadeira, com segurança", diz ele.

Para a secretária Claudia Pessôa, da Semptur, a jangada acessível é uma conquista para os portadores de necessidades especiais. "Estão de parabéns todos os que contribuíram com esse projeto, pelo sucesso da jangada acessível, que foi noticia até em sites nos EUA", disse ela.

A jangada acessível tem 1,90 de comprimento e 2,50 de largura e pode comportar até dois deficientes físicos com a cadeira de rodas, com acompanhante. Na construção da jangada foram utilizadas as madeiras de pequi, jaqueira, maçaranduba e igapó.

Fonte:
http://gazetaweb.globo.com/v2/noticias/texto_completo.php?c=195389


Jangada acessível foi lançada hoje
17h00, 03 de fevereiro de 2010
Assessoria/Adefal
Cadeirantes terão oportunidade de visitar piscinas naturais
Cadeirantes terão oportunidade de visitar piscinas naturais

Desfrutar da beleza das piscinas naturais da Praia de Pajuçara até pouco tempo parecia ser impossível para as pessoas com deficiência física, em especial para os cadeirantes, mas hoje esta realidade é outra e Maceió ganhou nesta quarta-feira, 3, a primeira jangada acessível.

No lançamento da jangada estiveram presentes para prestigiar esta conquista o presidente da Associação dos Deficientes Físicos de Alagoas- Adefal Luiz Carlos Santana, o vereador por Maribondo José Batista e a vereadora por Maceió Roseane Cavalcante, todos cadeirantes.

A jangada acessível em seu primeiro dia na rota das piscinas naturais de Pajuçara foi um verdadeiro sucesso e agradou a todos, inclusive aos turistas com deficiência que já estavam à espera por um passeio para o verdadeiro paraíso das águas.

O projeto da jangada acessível é de autoria do arquiteto e urbanista Jorge Luiz Silva com o apoio da Prefeitura de Maceió, e tem como objetivo proporcionar o acesso para os deficientes físicos realizarem o passeio às piscinas naturais da Pajuçara de forma segura e confortável.

A jangada foi projetada para cinco passageiros destes dois cadeirantes, mas larga e extensa do que as jangadas convencionais a jangada acessível possui uma maior estabilidade o que garante a segurança da embarcação.

Já para facilitar o acesso dos cadeirantes até a beira mar foi confeccionado uma esteira de bambu com 5 metros de cumprimento e 1,60 m de largura o que proporciona total condição de acesso a embarcação.

Ao falar da inovação turística do projeto o presidente da Adefal, Luiz Carlos Santana destacou de forma bastante positiva a jangada acessível. "Este projeto possibilitou a nós cadeirantes desfrutar de um dos mais belos passeios de nossa Cidade. Acredito que Maceió está dando um grande passo com esse projeto. É importante ter a consciência que acessibilidade não se trata apenas de rampas e calçadas, trata de um contexto geral onde se pensa em acessibilidade em vários segmentos como: na saúde, na educação, no esporte, na cultura e no lazer", finalizou Santana.

Fonte: Assessoria/Adefal


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Eduardo Camara has begun translating the articles at the blog Mão na Roda into English. Watch this page as he continues to add resources:

http://maonarodablog.com.br/wheelchair-traveling-brazil/

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One of the newest bright spots on the scene for those of us championing inclusion in outdoor tourism is the emergence of blogs by our researcher experts working in English.

Among the former is Dr Simon Darcy with his Accessible Tourism Research blog:

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2010


A colleague, Scott Rains of the Rolling Rains Report, alerted me to the Snow Mountains accessible tourism resources (Snowy Mountains Regional Tourism Association, 2010). What Scott didn't know was that the resources are an excellent example of operationalising previous research and value adding through new research.

The resources were developed as part of the Australian Accessible Alpine Tourism project (Dickson & Hurrell, 2008).The Alpine Accessible Tourism Project was funded under Ausindustry's Australian Tourism Development Program and was co-ordinated by Disabled WinterSport Australia (DWA). The project built on DWA's 30 years of providing snow sport experiences and sought to develop, document, market and promote accessible summer tourism experiences. Within a participatory action research (Denzin & Lincoln, 2003) (Laws, 1995; Ritchie & Crouch, 2002)

Most important is his detailed knowledge and dissemination of the methodology involved. See it discussed here and replicate it in your region:


Access Tourism New Zealand is where Dr Sandra Rhodda gathers relevant stories from around the world - with and emphasis on developments in New Zealand. See for example this report on rail transport in Aukland:

Auckland's newest railway station has won high praise from blind and partially-sighted people.   "The Newmarket station's only one week old and so it's great to get such positive feedback from the blind community so early on. They are an important part of Newmarket and so we're delighted they've give the station the thumbs up," says Cameron Brewer, chief executive of the Newmarket Business Association.

For more:



Whether or not people with disabilities or subgroups with specific disabilities constitute a culture or cultures is a controverted topic.

Assuming that they do the following announcement excerpted from Imtiaz Muqbil's newsletter Travel Impact Newswire has relevance to Inclusive Tourism as contributing to rapprochement of cultures.

A question then becomes, as the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) already asks, "How can Inclusive Tourism contribute to rapprochement of cultures?"

1. UNESCO To Launch 2010 Year For Rapprochement Of Cultures

Feb 4 2010 -- The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has set up an expert group to find ways to increase tolerance around the world, as part of her commitment to promoting a "new humanism" to pursue a rapprochement of cultures. The world, said Director-General Irina Bokova, is marked by a growing interdependence, but mistrust has also arisen in recent years.

"I am convinced that UNESCO has all the strengths needed to provide a humanist response to globalization and crisis," she said. "In response to the sense of vulnerability which permeates all levels, there is indeed a need to invent new forms of action to safeguard social cohesion and preserve peace."

The new panel will meet for the first time on 18 February in Paris. The gathering will also mark the launch of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures 2010, which will kick off with a round-table discussion on the theme, "The Dialogue of Cultures: New Avenues for Peace."

"The objective of this International Year is to help dissipate any confusion stemming from ignorance, prejudice and exclusion that create tension, insecurity, violence and conflict," Ms. Bokova emphasized. The task, she said, will be to promote mutual knowledge and to generate respect for other cultures. "Exchange and dialogue between cultures are the best tools for building peace," the UNESCO chief said.

"Four main strategic lines of action for the Year have been devised. They involve:

  • promoting reciprocal knowledge of cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity
  • strengthening quality education and intercultural competences
  • fostering dialogue for sustainable development

The goal is to make the rapprochement of cultures the hallmark of all policy-making at local, national, regional and international levels, involving the greatest number of relevant stakeholders.

Entrusted with the mandate to contribute to build "the defences of peace in the minds of men" through education, sciences, culture and communication, UNESCO is designated to play a leading role for the celebration of the Year. In her message, Ms Bokova said, "We are living in a world that is increasingly marked by a growing interdependence in all areas of human activity. The resultant cross-fertilization of our societies offers new opportunities to strengthen the ties between peoples, nations and cultures at the global level. At the same time, with globalization, incomprehension and mistrust have increased in the last few years. The economic, environmental and ethical crisis has further increased this sense of insecurity and mistrust."

She added, "In the light of these developments, I have proposed a new universal vision, open to the entire human community, which I have called the "new humanism". I am convinced that UNESCO has all the strengths needed to provide a humanist response to globalization and crisis. In response to the sense of vulnerability which permeates all levels, there is indeed a need to invent new forms of action to safeguard social cohesion and preserve peace."

Ms Bokova said, "Cultures encompass not only art and literature, but also lifestyles, value systems, traditions and beliefs. In this globalizing world, marked by increasingly rapid exchanges and greater complexity, the protection and promotion of this rich diversity present numerous challenges. True, culture is not included among the Millennium Development Goals in its own right, which I regret. But the links between culture and development are so strong that development cannot dispense with culture. I firmly intend to show, through new initiatives, that these links cannot be separated."

"The task will be, in campaigning for dialogue and mutual knowledge, to foster respect for each other's culture and break down the barriers between different cultures. Exchange and dialogue between cultures are the best tools for building peace. Given the new challenges of an increasingly interconnected world, our shared task is to build solid bridges, based on solidarity between all cultures so as to create a new universal ethics of living together.

Ms Bokova called on all UNESCO's partners to mobilize with the purpose of reaching these objectives: the National Commissions for UNESCO, agencies of the UN system, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, Goodwill Ambassadors and Artists for Peace, UNESCO Chairs and Associated Schools, Clubs and Centres, parliamentarians, locally elected officials, the world of culture, the sciences, education and the media, opinion leaders, youth organizations, and civil society as a whole, including the private sector.

For more information:

** An open-ended List of activities to be carried out throughout the year

Full details including background, objectives of the International Year of Rapprochment.

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2010 FIFA World Cup

Image via Wikipedia

Yes, but who is contracted to train specifically on service to travelers with disabilities attending World Cup 2010?

From ETN:

Harare -- THE Zimbabwe Council for Tourism will spend US$3 million on equipping critical service personnel with essential customer service skills ahead of the 2010 soccer World Cup in South Africa in June.

ZCT, through the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, obtained US$1,5 million from a local non-governmental organisation, Zimhost, for the personnel training initiative.

The tourism sector representative body would chip in with an additional US$1,5 million towards the US$3 million personnel training programme.

ZCT president Emmanuel Fundira told Herald Business that the initiative would cover all critical customer service personnel from both the private and public sectors ahead of the football showpiece.

Mr Fundira said the training programme would involve key service personnel from such areas as the tourism sector, immigration, police, army and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, among many others.

The aim, said the ZCT boss, was to change the customer service culture in the country for better to reap full benefits from the World Cup.

"We have secured funding from an NGO (Zimhost) for improvement of the customer service delivery system and we will train all stakeholders who are Zimbabwean nationals to improve customer service.

"We sought to partner Government in promoting tourism and this came through support from the NGO in which the parties will each contribute 50 percent to the total budget for the training programme.

"We initiated the idea to train people in customer service in various facets so that when we interface with visitors, there is a marked difference in the national customer service delivery culture," he said.

Zimhost was formed to foster the spirit of unconditional, collective hospitality in Zimbabwe by improving service standards nationally through training, and creating awareness of the importance of the individual's role in their place of work, and as ambassadors of their community and of their country.

Founding sponsors were the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Organisation Training & Development and African Sun Limited, Delta Corporation, Qantas Airways, Rainbow Tourism Group, United Touring Company, Meikles Africa, Barclays Bank, Abercrombie & Kent, Europcar Interrent and Cresta Hospitality.

Mr Fundira cited the usual chaotic manner in which immigration formalities were handled at Beitbridge as falling short of expectations.

He said there was a world of difference in the quality of customer service between hosts South Africa and Zimbabwe, the closest neighbour with the capacity to handle spillover tourists from the soccer showcase.

It was against this background that Mr Fundira said Government was overly excited about private sector efforts to assist in ensuring Zimbabwe was best prepared for the global soccer show.

ZCT had been worried that lack of financial resources to fund tourism promotion initiatives would make it difficult for the country to draw the full benefits of South Africa's hosting of the World Cup.

This was after ZTA received a US$400 000 allocation from the National Budget, which the private sector considered negligible, to push the national tourism agenda.

ZTA had projected that the country could rake in more than US$500 million if adequate preparations were made to promote the local tourism industry ahead of the football extravaganza.

However, this appeared a difficult feat to achieve in the face of the financial resources available to fund preparatory requirements.

Source: allafrica.com
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Accessible Charters in Venice

From Global Access News: VENICE, ITALY: CRUISE VENETIAN LAGOON ON MINUETTO

Now wheelchair users can enjoy the dazzling views of the Venetian Lagoon as they cruise aboard Le Boat's Minuetto (available in March 2010). 


The Minuetto (owned by Le Boat, a self-drive European boating company) sleeps six passengers and uses an internal lifting platform and an adapted wheelchair to transport wheelchair users. To view the Minuetto  layout and photos to determine if it fits your access needs, visit http://www.leboat.com/flotte/mnto

For more on accessible boats see Sherri Backstrom of Waypoint Yacht Charter Services

La Asociación Española de Normalización y Certificación (AENOR) en colaboración con la Asociación Española de Domótica (CEDOM) y la Federación Nacional de Empresarios de Instalaciones Eléctricas y Telecomunicaciones de España (FENIE), ha publicado el "Código de Prácticas" del Proyecto SmartHouse. Esta guía técnica presenta, por primera vez, un enfoque que engloba todos los sistemas y equipos, interactuando entre sí y conectados a la red. El Código recoge numerosas recomendaciones a tener en cuenta a la hora de desarrollar la vivienda inteligente.

Este documento es un acuerdo de trabajo del Comité Europeo de Normalización Electrotécnica (CENELEC), elaborado con la colaboración de numerosos expertos de empresas, asociaciones y centros de investigación procedentes de 28 países de Europa. La guía recoge más de 250 normas técnicas internacionales, europeas y otras especificaciones prácticas que permiten aprovechar las ventajas de una arquitectura de sistema coherente y la interoperabilidad entre las aplicaciones y los servicios.

El código pretende ser un documento de referencia útil para todos aquellos que participan en el diseño, instalación y mantenimiento de una vivienda inteligente, desde el proveedor de servicios hasta el consumidor. Entre los colectivos a los que va dirigido se encuentran ingenieros, arquitectos o aparejadores, instaladores, fabricantes y proveedores de servicios, entre otros.

SmartHouse busca favorecer el desarrollo de sistemas domóticos y de comunicaciones que proporcionen al usuario doméstico funciones de seguridad y control, comunicaciones, entretenimiento, confort, asistencia sanitaria, sostenibilidad, integración ambiental, eficiencia energética o accesibilidad.

La casa inteligente significa que el hogar esté donde quiere cada uno y contactar con los datos de su casa cuando está de viaje; o bien propiciar un trabajo eficiente desde el hogar. 'SmartHouse' permite la conexión con el exterior de la vivienda a través de la red de comunicaciones, haciendo posible la vivienda inteligente.

Por ejemplo, permite gestionar la iluminación, climatización, agua caliente sanitaria, alarmas técnicas (de gas o agua) y otros elementos, aprovechando mejor los recursos naturales y utilizando las tarifas horarias de menor coste. Así, se logra reducir la factura energética al tiempo que se gana en confort y seguridad. Además, la casa inteligente hace posible la comunicación, por primera vez, entre los distintos electrodomésticos de una vivienda (lavadoras, lavavajillas o secadoras) y controla cuándo comienza y finaliza cada uno. Otras ventajas son la integración de los contadores inteligentes, reposición de alimentos en el frigorífico cuando se acaban a través de pedidos on-line, servicios de teleasistencia y control de enfermedades crónicas o apertura de puertas por reconocimiento de perfiles personales. Estas capacidades, entre otras mejoras, permiten a los usuarios medidas para ahorrar energía, apoyando el cumplimiento de los objetivos de eficiencia establecidos en la legislación.

El 'Código de Prácticas del Proyecto SmartHouse' incorpora, además, criterios de confort, diseño universal y accesibilidad. Así, hace referencia a las 'Directrices para que el desarrollo de las normas tenga en cuenta las necesidades de las personas mayores y las personas con discapacidad' según la Guía 6 de CEN/CENELEC o la 'Ergonomía de los sistemas de interacción humana. Guía sobre la accesibilidad en las interfaces hombre-ordenador' según la norma internacional ISO 16071.

La presentación del 'Código de Prácticas del Proyecto SmartHouse' ha contado con la participación del Director General de AENOR, Ramón Naz; la Presidente de CEDOM, Concepción García y el Presidente de FENIE, Francisco Paramio, entre otros.



Más info:
CEDOM

Enlaces externos:

www.aenor.es
www.fenie.es

Fuente:

http://www.casadomo.com/noticiasDetalle.aspx?id=12607&c=1&idm=5&pat=5

Design Awards Enable Aging in Place

US News & World Report gives some coverage to Universal design in homes in Design Awards Enable Aging in Place"

Bandera de la ciudad de Guadalajara, en Guadal...

Image via Wikipedia

El Ayuntamiento Guadalajara presentó en Fitur varias novedades e iniciativas a desarrollar por la Concejalía de Turismo, entre las que destaca el nacimiento de unas nuevas guías de la ciudad, digitales, y especialmente pensadas en su uso por personas con diferentes discapacidades. 

La nueva «Audio-Signo Guía» de Guadalajara se enmarca en el programa «Guadalajara para todos», que pretende contribuir a presentar la ciudad como un destino turístico comprometido con la accesibilidad y preparado para recibir a turistas con necesidades especiales. Se diferencia del resto de guías virtuales por la incorporación de elementos inherentes al desarrollo de un turismo accesible y sin barreras, y permite escuchar una descripción del punto, la signación de contenidos conforme a la Lengua de Signos Española, e incluye subtítulos en castellano, inglés y francés. Además, ofrece la oportunidad de hacer visitas guiadas a todo tipo de visitantes con libertad de horarios y total flexibilidad.

La Audio-Signo Guía de Guadalajara puede descargarse desde el portal de Turismo de la web municipal (www.guadalajara.es), y en principio, contendrá la información de 12 puntos de interés turístico de la capital: Palacio del Infantado, Torreón de Alvar Fáñez, Alcázar Real, Iglesia de Santiago, Convento de la Piedad , Ayuntamiento, Convento de San José, Palacio de la Cotilla, Capilla Luis de Lucena, Concatedral de Santa María, Torreón del Alamín y el Panteón de la Condesa de la Vega del Pozo.

Además, tiene una pequeña introducción con una reseña de la historia, cultura y datos de interés de la ciudad, así como un plano callejero con señalización de todos estos edificios históricos, y un dispositivo GPS que permitirá al usuario conocer en todo momento su ubicación exacta en la ciudad vía satélite en los dispositivos que así lo permitan.

Los archivos colgados en la web están en formato mp3, mp4 y wmv, para que puedan incorporarlos a sus propios dispositivos móviles, seleccionando el que mejor se adecue al mismo. El usuario podrá además visualizar todos estos vídeos desde la web en alta calidad, y descargarse los archivos que más le interesen. El proyecto ha supuesto una inversión de casi 17.000 euros.

También relacionada con las nuevas tecnologías, otra iniciativa presentada es la apertura en la web del Ayuntamiento de una nueva «tienda on line», desde la que se venden los productos de «merchandising» que desarrolla el consistorio.

 

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Go to Gorongosa!

A review of Gorongosa at Southern Africa Direct:

Devastated by two decades of war, a new conservation project is restoring Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park to its former glory. The animals are returning, so are the journalists - will the tourists? asks Alison Westwood from Getaway Magazine.

The cameraman motions furiously at the lake. The philanthropist inches forward. I peer through long grass and see them: crocodiles. Big ones. Looking at us. In the water behind are dark bulges. More crocodiles. Hundreds, maybe thousands of them. We follow the cameraman as he creeps closer along a path I now realise was made by crocodiles. The helicopter is nowhere in sight. What the hell are we doing here?

It's simple. Chris Everson wants some close-up shots of crocs for 60 Minutes, the American television programme. Greg Carr has come to see some of the wildlife that his money and know-how are helping recover. And I'm caught up in the excitement of what might just be the hottest conservation story in Africa.



For the full article: http://www.southernafricadirect.com/news/entries/2009-08-04/mozambiques-gorongoza-park-comes-back-to-life.html

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