We attend elective Civic education classes in our school. In mid-October 2019 we received an invitation to take part in YIYI competition.
Altogether ten students decided to participate in this competition in order to create a safer and more tolerant environment in the vicinity of our school.
First and foremost, we tried to brainstorm and identify the problems of traffic safety and safety in general in our neighborhood. Secondly, in order to get a better insight into the situation we did a field research of our local community and came up with the following conclusions and results:
- It is extremely difficult and dangerous for us to reach the school by bicycle due to dense traffic. This made us think about students with poor eyesight or mobility issues and the problems they must be experiencing on a daily basis.
- Parts of sidewalks are used as parking space thus incapacitating free access to public spaces for people in wheelchairs.
- We have pondered and analized Traffic laws and Disability Rights laws in order to find out the difference between what the law has to offer and what disabled people can actually consume/use.
- We have interviewed people with mobility problems in order to find out how they feel.
- We talked to the spokespearsons of the institutions which have invested in the equipment to facilitate the mobility of people with disabilities.
- We conducted a survey among students attending our school, asking them if they experience any problems while accessing our school as well as other institutions in our community. The second objective of the survey was to find out how well students are informed of the needs and mobility problem of people with disabilities.
The survey's results were: 60% of students are aware our school hasn't got a mobility ramp. 80% of students are not familiar with the symbol of No Wheelchair Access, which means that 80% of the students surveyed have never thought about the issues that people with disabilities face while trying to access some public places or institutions. Only 29 students could name three institutions that have the disabled ramps
We made a PowerPoint presentation that has been disseminated in all twenty-four classes of our school in digital environments. PPT was presented in all classes via Zoom so we could introduce the project to the students ourselves. What bewildered students the most was how little they payed attention to the obvious – how unaware they were of the people with disabilities around them and their rights being violated. Students' feedback was extremely positive.The presentation has later been made into a video that was uploaded on the school web page.
We have sent a letter to the local authorities addressing the issue of the mobility of people with disabilities and alerting them about cars being parked on the sidewalks.
We have reminded some public institutions of their legal obligations of providing access to all the people regardless of their disabilities.
Talking to principals of schools and spokespersons of public institutions ( e.g. Croatian employment Institute) we asked them if they were aware of the fact they are obliged by law to enable free access to people with disabilities (brochures have not been made due to Covid-19 outbreak).
We have also shared our most relevant ideas on Facebook and asked friends to share it further.
Our project has also been put on the school's website.
Observe, think, act - just like us!!!