August 12, 2020

Ecuadorian lawmakers experience disability in their own flesh

A group of Ecuadorian legislators on Tuesday experienced the experiences of a person with disabilities in order to feel their needs in their own flesh and legislate in their favor with greater sensitivity.

The sensitization exercise was carried out when the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was commemorated on December 3 and involved legislators without ideological distinction.


The legislators Raúl Tello, Mauricio Proaño and Patricio Donoso, entered blindfolded through the main door of the Parliament, in what became a moving experience, which aroused in them a greater empathy towards people with some disability.

"One loses the notion of the location, of everything that is around, the only thing that is heard are voices," Tello said before noting that although they traveled about 50 meters blindfolded, they seemed five hundred due to the insecurity of giving each He passed.

Legislator for two and a half years, Tello stressed that all those who have some representation with which they can support people with disabilities, should do it daily because the issue of inclusion must overcome the words and get to the action.

"Inclusion and accessibility has to be State policies. I think that in the Constitution and the Law of Disabilities we find in each space the words inclusion, accessibility, but already in the practical question, unfortunately I think that it is very far from (what) that is a reality, "he said.

On his side, the legislator Proaño was annoyed with himself because "sometimes we do not put ourselves in the shoes of others to be able to make the legislation."

"Here (in the Assembly) we do not have people with disabilities. If a person with a disability wants to come, here he has any number of physical obstacles," he added before pointing out that there are regulations for construction in the country, but it is not always met.


The sensitization experience was carried out without interruptions to the normal working day in the Assembly, so many were surprised to see colleagues blindfolded and with a cane trying to enter the plenary.

"People do not help. You have a problem and it would be logical for someone to come and help you, (but) what many people did is to pass quickly as I cut people time," Proaño explained by stressing that yes there is no sensitivity "we will always have an unfair society".

And he confessed that when he opened his eyes after the sensitization experience he realized "that there were more obstacles than one thinks when he enters normally."

The insecurity at the time of taking the steps with the blindfold was also evident in Donoso that, despite advancing with his hand on the shoulder of a guide, incessantly moved the cane from one side to another, sometimes without bumping the floor, in the search for some spatial reference.

Legislator Gloria Astudillo joined the exercise by entering a full wheelchair in the Assembly and came to her seat with tears about to sprout.

"Doing this exercise is strong," she said in a broken voice when she declared herself moved by what people with disabilities should live daily.


Astudillo was glad that the country has made progress on accessible infrastructure issues, but stressed the need for further studies when determining the sites and mechanisms used to facilitate access for people with disabilities.

"It is unfortunate that many of the solutions that are being given now, rather they are traps because they are not technical solutions," Sandra Esparza, an architect with a specialty in accessibility and universal design, told Efe.

He spoke, for example, of podotact bands that have been placed in the city bordering gardeners or garbage dumps, "that is, the cane user will end up dizzy and never get anywhere."

Therefore, he considered that the exercise carried out on Tuesday in the Assembly can sensitize the actions of the Legislature when preparing its laws, as well as of society in general.

In 2007, she sat in a wheelchair to analyze the needs of people with disabilities before designing an inclusive park in Ecuador, considered an example of accessibility in the country.

. (tagsToTranslate) Ecuadorian (t) legislators (t) experience (t) their own disability (t)

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