This illustration shows how it should be: Disabled kids in developing countries should be able to get to school using a variety of accessible transport in order to learn alongside other kids. We hope you will help us as we work with others to turn this vision into a reality.
A great deal of progress has been made in developing regions since Access Exchange International was founded some 25 years ago. We are part of that story and the pages of this Newsletter have been filled with reports of newly accessible transportation in many countries. But one glaring exception in developing countries is that disabled children usually do not go to school: Transportation is cited as one of the leading reasons. We hope to do something about this.
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How it should be is not how it is.
If you Google “can disabled children get to school in developing countries?,” what comes back at you is grim. It turns out that the majority of mobility impaired poor children in less-wealthy regions in Latin America, Asia, and Africa simply do not attend school. Ever.
There are exceptions. We want to talk about these exceptions by noting good practices in A NEW GUIDE TO GETTING DISABLED KIDS TO SCHOOL, with case studies from countries where people are “getting it right” in providing low-cost inclusive transportation to school.
And we want to share our own decades of experience in 25 countries promoting accessible and inclusive public transportation, ranging from access to bus rapid transit systems (we have compiled two guides for the World Bank), to training staff and drivers who serve disabled passengers (another guide for the World Bank), to starting up and scaling up door-to-door para-transit systems that serve all mobility-impaired persons. Now we need to go beyond these more general guides to deal with the specific issues facing disabled kids who need to get to school.
We will need at least US$45,000 to create a basic guide in English and Spanish versions, and to begin to reach out with workshops and consultation with transport and school authorities in selected countries. It is a big order, we are uniquely qualified, and we ask you and all our readers in eighty countries to consider how you can help with a personal donation, with information concerning a grant from an interested agency, or with other resources.
AEI is a non-profit agency, tax-exempt for USA donors under Article 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. Checks may be made out to Access Exchange International and mailed to us at 112 San Pablo Avenue, San Francisco, California 94127, USA. Donations may be made by PayPal on our website at www.globalride-sf.org. Bank account information for fund transfers will be provided on request.
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About the author
Tom Rickert is founder and Executive Director of Access Exchange International (AEI), a non-profit agency promoting accessible public transit for persons with disabilities and seniors in less-wealthy countries around the world. Prior to founding AEI, he was Manager of Accessible Services for San Francisco’s bus and light rail systems as well as coordinator of San Francisco’s door-to-door van and taxi services for disabled passengers. Rickert is a member of the Committee on Accessible Transportation and Mobility of the USA’s Transportation Research Board and is Co-chair of its International Subcommittee. He is a member of the International Steering Committee for the International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons, to be held September 17-21, 2012, in New Delhi. You can contact him at email@example.com
* For an excellent bibliography of sources of information from many parts of the world reporting on accessibility of Bus Rapid transit Systems, click to http://www.globalride-sf.org/rnl.html#design
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Vulnerable populations include the economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, the uninsured, low-income children, the elderly, the homeless, those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and those with other chronic health conditions, including severe mental illness. It may also include rural residents, who often encounter barriers to accessing healthcare services. The vulnerability of these individuals is enhanced by race, ethnicity, age, sex, and factors such as income, insurance coverage (or lack thereof), and absence of a usual source of care. Their health and healthcare problems intersect with social factors, including housing, poverty, and inadequate education. And of course fair mobility
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About the editor:
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Bio: Trained as a development economist, Eric Britton is a public entrepreneur specializing in the field of sustainability and social justice. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets, his latest work focuses on the subject of equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions -- and in the process, find practical solutions to urgent climate, mobility, life quality and job creation issues. More at: http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7