January 11, 2010
Making life easier for disabled people around the world

This week, Worldfocus is airing two Signature stories about handicapped issues in Greece.

Tonight, we look at the challenges of being wheelchair-bound in Athens.

And tomorrow night, we’ll look at a new high-tech device being tested in Greece that helps visually disabled people be more mobile.

Do you think enough is being done to help the disabled?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please be respectful and on-point. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be banned.

See more Worldfocus coverage on Greek Technology for the Disabled.

bookmark    print    Email

Comments

5 comments

#5

I found the program to be very informative It stirs up lots of necessary dialog that can lead to change.
I do find your language to be inconsistent when you sometimes refer to “people with disabilities” and then begin referring to the “disabled” population. I know “disabled” is more economical in the use of words, but it is a label and not descriptive.
Labeling is a huge part of the barrier, making accessibility something “special” for all the special people rather than a cultural value system that allows most if not all of our fellow citizens to participate in the activities of our communities.
I have worked with people with disabilities for many years and have acquired a disability which was recently improved with surgery. The more our societies can make themselves accessible, the more independently people with disabilities can live and function, and are far more healthy and need far less expensive services. The economics are huge. This is not just a feel good thing. Investment in accessibility has large paybacks far into the future. And it allows people to work, shop and be active members of their world.
The US still has much work to do in making our communities more accessible. Even our nation’s capital, Washington, DC can be challenging for people with disabilities. Our son-in-law was recently at Walter Reed Hospital for injuries he acquired in Afghanistan. As he recovered, he went out into the city. He wanted to go on more trips but found the difficulty with accessibility to be pretty discouraging. Being able to go out into your community is very therapeutic and healing.
Thank you for taking on this project. With all that is going on in the world today, it is easy to overlook the need to continue pushing for improvements in our world. Peace be with you.

#4

It depends upon what you call a disability. I am sure that 90% of the people that have a disability are truly in need of recognition and governments around the world need to respond favorably. However, here in the USA you see many people with a Handicap on their automobile license plates or a sign hanging from their car’s rear view mirror and the only thing handicap about them is that they are much over weight and some people can’t help it they don’t wish to be way over weight - but many are simply couch potatoes and need the exercise and parking 6 feet from the entrance to a store is not getting exercise. I’m sure that many will take offense to my comment here - but for those truly disabled - I would apologize in advance here and now - but to those that are simply overweight sorry you need to walk some. Jim @ USA

#3

People with disabilities are not popular, because our difficulties remind governments and businesses that they still fail to obey the law.

Yet, ALL benefit from such access devices as curb ramps–whether parents pushing babies in strollers or delivery men pushing hand carts.
Accessible facilities allow ALL to work, shop, get properly educated, and easily obtain medical care; widespread accessibility can reduce what is spent on subsidy programs. Further, accessible housing means families don’t get split up or have a member stay isolated.
But, convenience of the majority still outweighs a broad-based approach to universal accessibility, which is why there are so many disability-based lawsuits.

#2

Congratulations to “World Focus” for continuing the dialogue on the issue of global rights to a much-improved quality of life for disabled people. This evening, I was shocked and disturbed to learn that, in a cosmopolitan country such as Greece, the infrastructures have not been modified to accommodate physically challenged people. Why institutions and public buildings in Greece (and in other countries) have not made changes is also unacceptable and beyond comprehension. A multinational effort must be made, and soon, perhaps with the aid of the United Nations. In that way, a global law can be passed to rebuild streets, entrances to and exits to public buildings, etc. A questions comes to mind: Have consultants in Greece traveled to the United States on a fact-finding mission so that they can examine the user-friendly systems, structures, streets, etc., that we have here? If that is not possible, then the European Union needs to put pressure on Greece to make the needed changes while at the same time devising a law with which all EU-member countries must comply so that physically challenged people can enjoy the liberties that their so called abled brethren enjoy. We are in the second decade of the 21st century, and throughout the world businesses, institutions and governments need to revolutionize their systems and structures so that people with disabilities can get around and conduct normal lives like so called able people. In the situation where a person becomes disabled later in life (as opposed to be born with a disability), it is extremely difficult to reconstruct his or her life after surviving an accident, illness or a surgery (or a combination thereof) which results in the loss of physical capabilities that many of us take for granted. As one person quoted in the video said, and if I may paraphrase: disabled people comprise the largest minority in the world — a minority in which any of us can become a member. Lastly, there is another side to this issue of the urgent need worldwide for radical modifications of systems and structures: A change needs to be made on an attitudinal level, and on a global scale, to show the importance of compassion. Perhaps the way to make such an attitudinal change is to start with courses in grade school — because our mind-set begins to form at an early age — that show children how to have empathy for their fellow man. As mentioned above, any one of us could wind up experiencing a tragic circumstance one day and being forced to struggle the next day to make our lives sustainable and enjoyable. We must remember the saying, “There but for the grace of God go I” — no matter what your belief system is, it is the humane element that is the point.

#1

No I do not think enough is being done. Accessibility is a very worthwhile endeavor- It facilitates the disabled becoming productive, tax paying members of society.

Produced by Creative News Group LLC     ©2014 WNET.ORG     All rights reserved

Distributed by American Public Television