Inclusion, The Spirit 2 win 2 together
We believe in the ability, rights and duties of every person with a spinal cord injury. We have experienced that everyone with a spinal cord injury in some way needs special equipment, training or adaptations to maintain and improve their quality of life. As part of this process to be able to achieve our vision to be an inclusive and accessible island we’ve seen that not everything can be achieved by our own efforts as foundation or private sector and neither the public sector.
We see our foundation as a connecting platform where we can serve the spinal cord injury community, private- and public sector to be able to raise the living standard of what a good quality of life should be through projects, social events, conferences and fundraising.
Accessibility is a topic that was mentioned at numerous occasions during the trajectory of our foundation, positively and negatively. The main conclusion of the majority part of our community is that Curacao is not accessible and there is no place for wheelchair users.
There are two facts we have encountered to support that conclusion:
- Till this day there is no law that states that every building has to be accessible or wheelchair friendly.
- There is nowhere stated what makes a building wheelchair friendly.
The Netherlands has ratified the United Nation Persons with Disabilities Treaty on the 21th of January 2016. People with disabilities have the same rights. They are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society. The Treaty clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.
Despite that we are part of the Dutch kingdom and that we assume that if The Netherlands has ratified this treaty our government must ratify it also for it to be officially in Curaçao.
Regardless of all this information and the conclusion of the majority we still have people using wheelchairs in Curaçao and there are some places that from their own initiative have made their buildings wheelchair friendly.
As a foundation on different occasions we have experienced some of those locations that are accessible. That is why we believe that we can do better. We want to change the story that we are telling ourselves and start a new conversation, a positive conversation that can empower and encourage more people and business to be wheelchair friendly and inclusive.
We understand that there are initatives and organizations also working on this topic, we are also aware that we cannot do the same as others and expecting different results. Therefor we have created this project to add one more voice to the conversation about accessibility. To make a different approach we have divided the project in 4 phases.
1.Auditing (Phase 1)
For this first accessibility project we will work together with stakeholders in the hospitality sector, para-medical professionals and students in construction and nursing. During a period of time we will be auditing 56 locations of CHATA members such as hotels and restaurants using guidelines of the Integral Accessibility Standards in the Netherlands. For the first audit we will use some basic elements of accessibility requirements for infrastructure accessibility.
All hotels and restaurants, who will be auditing, will get a score from the auditing commission to see, based upon the guidelines, how accessible they are or not.
2.Awareness Campaign (Phase 2)
To start changing the story within our culture we will be:
- Creating videos sharing stories about accessibility, inclusion and parking places.
- Creating visual flyers and folders about accessibility.
- Informing the community through the media and press about this project, talking about accessibility, inclusion and the benefits.
- Involving the community with a voting campaign so that everyone can vote which CHATA member they would like to see accessible.
3.Closing event/video launch (Phase 3)
The United Nations has created the World Tourism Organization that since 2003 has initiated the World Tourism Day on the 27th of September. Last year the main topic was Accessible Tourism – Promoting Universal Accessibility and this year it will be Sustainable Tourism where social inclusion is also the key goal. Twenty-two (22) and twenty (20) days before the World Tourism Day is respectively the SCI Day for a Spinal Cord Injury Inclusive World on the 5th September and Fundashon Alton Paas will mark her 5th anniversary on 7th September. There for we have chosen to be part of the World Tourism Day closing the project on the 8th of September:
- Acknowledging the top 3 score of the hotels and restaurants of which the winner will receive an Curacao Inclusion Award for being the most accessible hotel, most accessible restaurant and also the most accessible employer on the island within the CHATA Members;
- Giving the encouragement prize to the CHATA member with the most vote within the community;
- Inviting business leaders within our society to listen to our cause and be inspired by our story of accessibility and inclusion to encourage action;
- Launching the awareness videos and
- Raise funds with a concert of Randall Corsen Orchestra.
4.Report (phase 4)
After the event
- Every hotels and restaurants that where audited will receive a report with:
- Their score
- The guidelines
- Tips to know how they can improve and be more accessible.
- We will also deliver a report to CTB with guidelines that can be used for future auditing for business in the tourist sector;
- Videos can be used by CHATA to promote Curaçao with the accessible possibilities;
- We will deliver a report to the government with the guidelines and tips to start up the process for laws or stimulate more accessibility;
- The project will be done every two years as we include more sectors, partners and guideline as we collect data and see how organizations improve the accessibility and inclusion as we keep auditing and acknowledge them locally and internationally.
The goal of this project is
- To bring awareness on the value to have an inclusive and accessible community where we can understand the benefits and show example how we can be accessible to trigger others to do the same in their organization;
- Audit and recognize organizations in the community who are accessible so our community can be aware of what places on the island are wheelchair accessible;
- Promote Curaçao with the accessible possibilities on the island for local and international tourist with our videos;
- Raise funds for projects of the foundation.
There is always posibility that you can support as volunteer or as donator to support this project.