Day in a wheelchair with the Paraple Centre tested the accessibility of the campus
On Thursday, November 24, visitors to our campus experienced increased movement of wheelchair users on campus. This was thanks to an outreach event by the Paraple Center, a well-known non-profit that helps people in wheelchairs after spinal cord injury and their families cope with difficult life situations.
On this day, Charles University and the Paraple Centre organised a Wheelchair Day - an opportunity for students and staff to get a glimpse into the world of the disabled. The Paraple Centre loaned three wheelchairs for the day, which were used to sit on and experience what it is like to move around the environment of a selected faculty in a wheelchair and to see the university premises from a different perspective with all its challenges. Three stations were marked in the faculty premises for the "test riders" to visit. Getting to a lecture, buying a coffee in the canteen or borrowing a book in the library - ordinary trivial tasks suddenly became quite difficult and were often not done without the help of others, even though the building is built according to all standards to accommodate the disabled, and thought was given to, for example, the larger spacing between shelves in the library or the lowered circulation desks. The Paraple Centre staff patiently explained everything and accompanied the students and academics on their test runs. The first to try out the trolleys were vice-deans Assoc. Václav Babuška and Prof. Jitka Kuncová. They too stated that they encountered some surprising moments - for example, it is necessary to be on standby at our lifts, as the boarding interval is relatively short for wheelchair users.
added David Lukeš, director of the Paraple Centre. He took part in the Pilsen Wheelchair Day in the afternoon and in his lecture he presented many aspects of daily life in a wheelchair, both from a practical and medical point of view. Besides the director, Michal Jančařík, a well-known Pilsen presenter, also shared his experience of life in a wheelchair.
The vice-deans were followed mainly by students. A curious student decided to go off the beaten track and try the wheelchair platform, which is on the staircase at the connecting neck between building U1 and U2.
"It is the duty of Charles University to strive for equal access to education for all students. For many of them, accessibility is symbolised by a high threshold, three steps at the entrance or simply by physically opening the door. I am very pleased that Charles University is involved in this awareness-raising event and helps to understand the world "in wheelchairs" and the necessary steps that can be taken to make education accessible," said the Rector of Charles University, Prof. Milena Králíčková, commenting on the event. "We greatly appreciate the cooperation with Charles University. We consider events such as the Wheelchair Day to be very beneficial. Students, who will soon enter their professional practice, have the opportunity to gain a closer understanding of what the issue of spinal cord injuries entails. We believe that in the future they will be able to work better with people with spinal cord injuries and understand the topic in a broader context," added David Lukeš, Director of the Paraple Centre. He participated in the Pilsen Wheelchair Day in the afternoon and in his lecture he presented many aspects of daily life in a wheelchair, both from a practical and medical perspective. Besides the director, Michal Jančařík, a well-known Pilsen presenter, also shared his experience of life in a wheelchair.