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Inclusion

Accessibility is not an expensive luxury

by Rainer Brockhaus

In brief

The nursing student choir sings at the dedication ceremony for the children’s eye clinic in Bulawayo.

The nursing student choir sings at the dedication ceremony for the children’s eye clinic in Bulawayo.

Accessibility is essential for the social inclusion of people with disabilities. It should be considered in infrastructure development from the very beginning.

The advantages of this approach are evident – for example, at a new eye clinic in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the construction of which was supported by the CBM.  The cost of making the building accessible were only slightly higher than a less accessible building would have been, and they were significantly lower than the cost of retrofitting the building later.

Talking with local workers, moreover, the planners discovered that many of the patients’ family members spent nights sleeping outdoors when they came for a visit. The reason was the lack of affordable lodging. A donor helped to solve this problem by funding the construction of a small hotel.

This is a good example of the fact that the best way to meet the needs of people with disabilities and their family members is to take into account the interests of diverse groups of people.

 

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