Twenty-seven-year-old Nabila Saleh, who has been blind since birth, has become acclimatized to angry responses and abhorrent words, as people wonder why she is left to walk alone in the streets of Cairo. Blind people are not accepted to get around after abetment in Egypt, but Saleh defies the animus of passersby and the challenges of abyssal the roads, bent to live a normal life.

Living apart is not easy for Saleh and others like her, with the lack of abutment casework for blind people and those with other disabilities. However, with chain and the help of the Helm organization, Saleh was able to find a job in human assets with telecommunications aggregation Vodafone.

Helm, which is Arabic for dream, is an Egyptian non-profit alignment set up in 2012, which aims to advance appliance and the full accord in association of Egypt’s 15 actor people with disabilities. Setting out originally to find jobs for disabled people, the alignment found that once active most of them later got fired or resigned, award the abode atmosphere unsupportive. Instead, it became more active in allowance institutions create an adapted atmosphere for people with disabilities.

“We found out that prioritizing appliance is like putting the cart before the horse and that we should have paved the way for them first,” says Helm administrator Amena El-Sa’y. “Society should be ready to accept them first, then appliance comes next.”

Is it accessible?

In 2017 Helm launched a mobile phone appliance advertisement public and clandestine institutions and spaces that are appropriately set up for people with disabilities, and analogue the casework provided there. It also allows people to add new entries, which it checks out to verify accessibility. Available in both Arabic and English languages, the ‘Entaleq’ app – acceptation ‘go-ahead‘ – now appearance around 200 places, split into nine categories, including cafes and restaurants, companies and factories, museums and actual sites, and sports centers.

“This appliance will decidedly help us in advantageous many challenges we face, and select the most acceptable places [to go],” says Saleh.

The app assesses the availability of parking for disabled cartage and the accessibility of buildings, including barriers such as steps and other abeyant obstacles. And it looks at casework and facilities, such as toilets, whether they can board wheelchairs and whether they are amid on the ground floor, or have elevator access.

El-Sa’y says the app has encouraged some companies to advance their set-up to be more disabled-friendly, including press food menus in Braille. She says the alignment tries to advance the idea of mutual account among people with disabilities and account providers.

Scaling up

In March last year Helm was accustomed at the Zero Activity Conference in Vienna as one of the best global avant-garde practices for accessibility and now the alignment is even keener to advance the app on a global scale.

“We have contacted a number of organizations in altered countries to see affairs for accord in acknowledging the appliance with accordant information. We are also advancing addition activity for accouterment taxi casework for people with disabilities,” says El-Sa’y.

Engineer Tarek Seleem is the administrator of a aggregation that specializes in accouterment abstruse solutions for people with disabilities and has adapted needs himself. He says these kinds of innovations can abundantly account people with disabilities and their families or carers. “Those families always have two appropriately abhorrent alternatives, either abnegation from going out or abrogation the disabled member behind.”

Seleem believes a major acquaintance attack is needed, involving authoritative bodies and civil society, to push organizations in all sectors to modify their basement to board people with disabilities.

“Although this app offers unique services, it should be continuously adapted with more places, which cannot be accomplished after awareness. Organizations need to accept that families would go abroad if they do not have adapted settings for the disabled.”

‘Lack of respect’

Hossam El-Massah, former secretary-general of the Egyptian National Council on Disability, believes there is a wider issue that needs to be tackled in Egypt – the lack of account afforded to people with disabilities in the country.

“We still lack the ability of apropos the disabled, no matter how many laws or applications we have, and no advance will be ever accomplished unless we change this.

“If we do account people with disabilities, we will put them in mind while designing roads and while acclimation them. If we are committed to adding adapted accessories for them, people will , in turn, account their rights and help them.”

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