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People with disabilities struggle through daily life

Update: July, 31/2013 - 11:00
.Equipment for disabled people should be put in public areas.—Photo

HCM CITY (VNS)— Nguyen Minh Hao, 22, used his arms to climb the stairs at a supermarket in District 9 with great difficulty.

The market was not wheelchair friendly, so he had no choice.

After he climbed all the stairs to enter the supermarket, he felt tired and did not have much interest left in shopping, Hao said.

It was the first time Hao was shopping in person at the supermarket. He had been dependent on his roommates earlier.

A student of the Post and Telecommunications Institute of Technology in District 9, Hao said he needs to visit other stores to buy necessary books, but is unable to do so.

There are few bookstores that a wheelchair bound person can access, and these are far away from his dormitory, he added.

In cities, a few buildings provide the way for the disabled like this one.

Like Hao, 29-year-old Nguyen Thanh Tung, who moves around on crutches, finds it very difficult to enter buildings with many stairs.

"Like other people, I also need to go shopping for myself," Tung said, adding that he does not want to bother his relatives to get essential things for his daily life.

Therefore, he ignores the difficulties he faces in travelling and keeps going, he said.

"When I receive the help of people around me, including relatives, I feel uncomfortable."

Tung said he wished buildings, especially those that host supermarkets, bookstores, schools and entertainment establishments like cinemas, would make it easier for people with disabilities to access them.

It is important to understand that the lack of such access unfairly isolates people with disabilities and creates wrong impressions about them, he said.

For instance, people assume that those with disabilities do not want to go out and do things, and prefer to stay at home, he said.

The aspirations of such people to stand on their feet and contribute to the city's and nation's development are killed when their special needs are ignored, he added.

Although Viet Nam's Law on People with Disabilities says they have the right to use public works, neither builders nor concerned authorities pay any attention to this requirement in planning their projects, Tung said.

A survey conducted by the HCM City Centre for Disability Research and Capacity Development (DRD) to assess access to buildings, schools, hospitals and cultural houses, found just 78 of 1,800 buildings in District 1 and 3 allowed access to wheelchairs.

Tung, Hao and others are waiting for a PM-approved project to be carried out, under which 50 per cent of all buildings, hospitals, buses, trains and train stations will meet access standards for people with disabilities by 2015. This is expected to increase to 100 per cent by 2020. — VNS

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