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More than a symbol

If someone is asked to think of a symbol for ‘accessibility’, most likely a wheelchair will come to mind; and it makes perfect sense, considering that this is one of the most used assistive devices for people with mobility and physical disabilities. Even more, a wheelchair can open up opportunities for their users to engage in social activities and have access to services (such as education and healthcare), thus enhancing their quality of life. In other words, wheelchairs can provide multiple benefits that have a positive impact on the lives of many people – and by ‘many’, we mean millions.

According to the World’s Health Organisation , in 2021 there were about 75 million people who use a wheelchair on a daily basis, that is, around 1% of the world’s population currently rely on the assistance of this device. However, there must be many others that could greatly benefit from using one, but are not able to acquire it.

Mobility and physical disabilities are easier to spot than other conditions, nevertheless, the world is not accessible enough for those who have them, yet. There is a hint of irony in this, considering that the visual cue for accessibility, even for Google, is a wheelchair. But there is still so much to do in regards of access for people who use or need one!

Unfortunately, that may be caused due to the stigma around people who use wheelchairs on a daily basis, such as a poor understanding of their rights to access their environment and to be included as active members of their community. This includes inaccessible or expensive public transportation, with limited spaces available for them. That is why we, at Dash Access and Inclusion Services, are committed to provide transport to our clients as one of our key services, regardless of their condition. We know how important it is to offer support, and by making our services inclusive to everyone, we want to reinforce the association between a wheelchair and the concept of accessibility.

That is what the International Wheelchair Day is all about : a day of events and activities that take place around the world to enable wheelchair users to celebrate the accessibility and support that this device has brought to their lives. Also, this date aims to acknowledge and react constructively to the fact that there are many people worldwide who need a wheelchair but are unable to get one. And finally, on this special day, we celebrate the meaningful work of those who provide support and care for wheelchair users, as we do at Dash Access and Inclusion Services. We strongly believe that by making our communities more accessible and inclusive, we will also be making the world a better place for all people. And hopefully, one day, a wheelchair will be more than a symbol: a true sign that the world acknowledges every person and every condition as part of the marvellous diversity that the human kind is.

Author Tania Ruelas

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