article, international, south africa

Stars and Stripes, all so bright – a story of traveling with a disability

During the holidays I was fortunate enough to go traveling in the US, as a South African tourist and I was completely amazed at how most businesses are focused on ensuring that they are accessible to people with disabilities. 

The trip started at the airports where full assistance was given to persons in wheelchairs with a porter ensuring that you are at the correct terminal at the right time. They even assisted with checking in.

From the airport, we were greeted by taxis that have now been replaced by vehicles that are more accessible for persons in wheelchairs and can host wheelchairs as well. Trains and buses had specific seats allocated for persons with disabilities as well. Most of the subways also had elevators, not only stairs, so to assist with accessibility. 

As we started our traveling, we found that the majority of businesses had alternative entrances that are accessible to wheelchair users and in public spaces where ramps were steep, there were warnings as well.

We were amazed during our trip to see how the country had made a conscious decision to include persons with disabilities in everyday life. Yes, there were cases where improvements could be made but overall it really felt that persons with disabilities had become more of a priority and it made our trip even more spectacular. 

article, international, south africa

Google local guides helping people with disabilities

This month there were various  international disability days i.e. World Osteoporosis Day (20 October), World Polio Day (24 October), World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day (25 October) and World Stroke Day (29 October).

All of these types of disabilities could lead to certain accessibility needs. As a follow-up on the article posted on 18 October 2017, it is good to note what successes have been achieved through Google Local Guides to assist with the accessibility needs of persons with disability. These include that 7 million people joined the effort (0,1% of the total world population). These local guides assisted in answering 51 million accessibility questions of 12 million places globally.

This is great progress in addressing accessibility needs of persons with disability although even more local guides are needed to be able to assist the estimated 700 million people with disabilities.

Below are some videos of testimonies of how the local guides helped people with disabilities get information on accessible places.

Read more on how to get involved and become a local guide:





international, south africa

Using Google Maps for accessibility info

Technology is evolving more and more and people relying more on services such as Google Maps to help them find places such as schools, restaurants and other landmarks within communities.

The need for inclusive communities for persons with disabilities has become a topic of discussion over the past few years. Google Maps decided to call on their Local Guides (people who review places for them) to assist in identifying places in different communities that are accessible to persons in wheelchairs. This would assist not only persons with disabilities but also families of persons using wheelchairs.



Read more on this at:


international, south africa

Virtual Reality (VR) not just for gamers but also for amputees



Virtual Reality (VR) has become more and more of a household name when it comes to the latest technology. We use it in our computer games. Several professional sectors such as architecture and engineering have used it to help us feel as if we are in a real situation e.g. feeling like we are walking through a castle whilst we are at home.

However, medical science has also now started to look at how VR can be used in their sector. One such way is by using VR as a form of therapy for amputees suffering from phantom limb pain. Many amputees have reported that they  feel as if the limb they lost is still there and that they sometimes feel it itching or pain but that they usually cannot do anything about this because the limb is not physically there to treat. VR, however, can assist with this by “tricking” their brain to believe that the limb is still there and “treating” it.

VR could not only assist amputees but also other  types of disabilities such as patients that suffered strokes and, maybe in the future, other types of therapies within the health sector.


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