"Summer is approaching. People go to the beach with family and friends enjoying sunshine, playing with sand and water."
Summer is approaching. As a matter of course, people go to the beach with family and friends enjoying sunshine, playing with sand and water. It is an inexpensive and pleasant activity for the general public. However, for more than 50,000 wheelchair users in Hong Kong, this can be challenging and luxurious.
In Hong Kong, there are very few barrier-free public transports that can reach any beach directly. Even if the wheelchair users are willing to pay more on transportation, reserving transports on their own, they may not be able to get onto the pedestrian path since sometimes there are no dropped kerbs to connect the pedestrian path and the parking area. If lucky enough, they can access the periphery of the beach, yet passage with no ramps or only non-standardized ramps would be another obstacle to going onto the beach. Lack of auxiliary facilities, e.g. accessible toilets, on the beach is problematic as well.
Comparing the universal design in other countries, beaches in Australia, the United States and so on, do not merely provide facilities like ramps and changing rooms, but also provide with beach wheelchairs for people with limited mobility to go right to the waterfront. The auxiliary barrier-free facilities are also comprehensive. In recent years, the Hong Kong Government is creating an inclusive city, and emphasizes that children with disability should have the opportunity to play inclusively. The Hong Kong Government should therefore consider these good and feasible practices, to empower wheelchair users, older adults and children with disability to enjoy family life on the beach. It would also be an opportunity to raise the public awareness on barrier-free design and inclusive education.
It is hoped that everyone, even with physical restraint, can have the pleasant experience of enjoying the sunshine and beach with family and friends.
It is hoped that everyone, even with physical restraint, can have the pleasant experience of enjoying the sunshine and beach with family and friends. Hence, “Inclusive Beach” is planned to be held in September this year. To render beach accessible to wheelchair users, beach wheelchairs, which are specially designed to cross the sand and float on water will be used. Barrier-free mat will be laid as passages on the beach as well to enable ordinary wheelchairs to move around. Through this event, we wish to demonstrate the feasibility of inclusive facilities and community planning.
The details are as follows:
Date: 23 September 2018
Venue: Golden Beach
Two major activity areas:
- Sunbathing Area：Barrier-free passages and sunshade will be set on the beach to enable wheelchair users to investigate the sand and enjoy the sunshine as well as sea breeze.
- Experiential Water Area：Beach wheelchairs will be used so that wheelchair users can reach the sea and touch the spindrift firsthand.
Target amount：HKD 60,000
|Transportation||2 rental cars||3000|
|Other activity materials||N/A||2500|
|Fee charged by FringeBacker and bank||1 time||4500|
Rewards：A gift certificate to be redeemed on the event for a book written by writer Ms. Chan Po Man, one of the project founders
Main Project Founder:
Ms. Chan Po Man, the chief of Inclusion, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of five. She has been struggling with mobility difficulties since childhood and using wheelchair. Yet, her mind is not limited in the face of various restrictions in life. She also put her dream into practice and actively participates in working, studying, writing books, writing and directing in stage drama. She experiences too much attention and worries from the surrounding people and feels that the society perceives people with disability as recipients only. Thus, she forms Inclusion with other six like-minded members to let more people understand the deeper meaning of social inclusion.