For whom is “barrierfree”

This weekend’s workshop was about barriers, not about those between countries but also for people. People, who are not as lucky as the most of us are, people who must encounter barriers every day because there is no other way. It was about members of our society who can not see, or walk or have problems with their whole body.

Groundwork Fukuoka gathered members and people who are interested in this topic in the Onojo Madokapia center, a civil community center in a part of Fukuoka. It was an experience workshop. We could practice what it is like to be old, blind or have to drive a wheelchair.

This Workshop was planned and implemented by Groundwork Fukuoka as a part of a Fukuoka prefectures project to promote a barrier-free society.

 

With a special suit, an “old-human-suit” we simulated how it feels to be old and frail. Our joints tightened, so they can not move as usual, with much more weight on determined parts of the body and with a limited view we had to try normal day things like eating, reading, drawing or walking up and down the stairs. But also with complete lost of eyesight and total rely on another person we should walk through the whole center, like someone who really is blind. An experience supported by Mr. Yoshimatsu a teacher at the Fukuoka school for the blind, sightless himself and his assistant a blind leader, who helped us understanding this situation.

Even in a wheelchair we crossed not only the center but the streets. Seeing how difficult it is being bound to this vehicle and using nothing more than your arms to move forward.

 

It was a really interesting experience and it helped seeing through the veil of “not-understanding” the problems of others.

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