New app to help people with disabilities access public venues
Middle East, June 6 2016
DOHA: Accessible Qatar, an initiative aimed to bring new mobility and further inclusion for people with disabilities in the country, has been launched.
The smartphone application and website are (www.AccessibleQatar.com) available in English and Arabic. The initiative was launched by Sasol, an international integrated chemicals and energy company, under the patronage of HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Rumaihi.
Accessible Qatar has been developed in partnership with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Qatar Tourism Authority, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), Mada, and Shafallah Centre, and in collaboration with Qatar Social and Cultural Centre for the Blind, and the Qatari Centre of Social Cultural for the Deaf.
By accessing Accessible Qatar, Accessible Qatar Screenshot and other individuals are able to view popular public and touristic venues in Qatar and see whether they are accessible and in what way.
At launch, 50 locations around Qatar, ranging from retail locations to hotels and public parks have been audited by an expert in the field and detailed information is available for people with various types of disabilities.
The application also allows users to rate and submit their own reviews about the accessibility of venues around the country. The objective of the application is to allow the disabled community and tourists to move about more con?dently, knowing they can arrive and leave any spot without unwelcome surprises that limit access.
“The Ministry of Municipality takes the matter of accessibility very seriously, as one of our objectives is to build more accessible infrastructure and oversee Qatar’s progress towards being an internationally acclaimed accessible city,” said Sheikh Faleh bin Nasser al-Thani, Undersecretary Assistant for General Services Affairs.
A series of roadshows were conducted in order to introduce the initiative to people with disabilities and gain their insight and feedback on the application prior to its launch.
As QTA works in partnership with public and private stakeholders to plan, regulate and promote a sustainable and diverse tourism industry, the initiative is aligned with QTA’s broader regulatory mandate to ensure that the development of the tourism sector is inclusive of the disabled community’s needs.
Fatma al-Nuaimi, senior legacy manager, SC, said: “The development of this app goes far beyond simply accessing the stadiums which will be used for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
Accessible Qatar builds on Sasol’s ongoing Definitely Able CSR initiative. The concept for the initiative grew out of a session held during last year’s Definitely Able Conference, where people with disabilities from around Qatar, the region and the world discussed inclusion for people with disability as full members of society.
Phinda Vilakazi, president of GTL Ventures at Sasol, said the new resource responds to the needs of the community, and creates a resource with the vision to allow every disabled individual in Qatar to view all of the accessible venues around the country.
Dr Amal al-Malki, dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences at HBKU, recalled that the institution has been working with Sasol from the very beginning on Accessible Qatar through its Translation and Interpreting Institute.
Jack Saba, general manager, Public Affairs at Sasol, announced that the company has agreed with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment to instal the first “inclusive playground” in Qatar. Under this, the facility will be set up at a public park in Doha later this year. It will include special features that allow disabled children to participate in play alongside their friends.