In coming here today I am looking for some ideas to have more independence, let’s say.

I am very interested in the conference taking place this afternoon which is called art, culture and handicap, because we don’t speak of it very often and after all I think that today there are many ways of achieving, not necessarily through work but also through all that is cultural, arts, plastics?

Ah well, you know in France, there exists a law which fixes a minimum of 6% in companies. This quota is far, far from being respected, whether it is in private companies or public establishments. So our main hobby-horse is this, to enforce this quota in the civil services.

The vehicles are quite something, very interesting, then what you see are practically the latest chairs to come out. There is the multidirectional chair, the new “live standing up” that’s a bit much, eh?

We looked for some equipment to fit into a future apartment for the kitchen and the bathroom. I am also looking for some chairs, some scooters for moving around outside, for going outside.

The kitchen, I have found that very interesting because it helps us to find useful things for the house.

Able bodied people shouldn’t be surprised to discover that the desires and needs of the handicapped very much resemble theirs. State of the art high technology, dream holidays, of work there is everything at the “Salon Handicap” which happens in Lyon every two years.

These famous kitchens, for example:

Well simply we have developed an ergonomic kitchen where we find different solutions for being able to give accessibility, so we have motorised some particular parts.

For the level of the work top, then, we take a work top which is adjustable in height, which allows it to be put into the desired place, whether for a person in a wheel chair, or a small person or also for a tall person. Also we have tall furniture which is motorised in different ways. We have integrated also at drawer level a breaking system for people who have problems with movement, one would say, controlling their movements. The advantage is that whatever force is used to push the drawer, the drawer never bangs.

The kitchen which is shown in the salon, is a kitchen which represents a budget of about one hundred thousand francs, but that includes the ‘fridge, the oven, the micro-wave, the hot plate, the sink, all the motorisation, which when you consider the accessibility we give and the quality of the product, it’s not something so very very expensive.

We realise that our clients are content to have something at last ascetic and functional, because it’s true that the solutions that were proposed today were solutions where one had the choice between the white, the white and the white.

The clients, they groan a bit at the prices…

A car. We have come for that, but we’ll see. When they talk in hundreds of thousands of francs, we cool off.

Ah well, all the same it’s a market. They are doing the rounds up there. There are less and less things reimbursed by the social secuity so you have to be rich to be handicapped.

And we don’t trust the promises of the vendors:

Very often in the modified vehicles, you have a drawback depending on the size of the person, a disadvantage of not seeing the road. Now that is a shame all the same.

But at least there is something to dream of. At Air Sylphie, you can learn to fly:

Me, I am paraplegic and I have passed my ULM paraplegic certificate. For some years there’s been a flight committee attached to the existing federation.

Or go for a walk in the mountains with “Les Accompagnateurs en Montagne”:

We are an association of walkers. We mix the handicapped with the able bodied. We put handicapped people on the “joelettes” with a person in front and a person behind. We take them into the mountains. We have some sojourns for example on the Gorge du Verdon, the Cathar castles, the high plateaus of Vercors, as well as in the big mountains, the Pyrenees, the high Ubai. We have a sojourn to Romania, a stay in Morocco.

La joelette was made by Joel, a mountain guide who had made it for his nephew with muscular dystrophy, and he had made two of them, three and then afterwards, well, it has become a commercial affair.

We are an association, I would say, five hundred or six hundred people at national level, all volunteers.

There are people who fight for rights, like Chantal Pidoux of the Conseil Lyonnais for the “Respect des Doits”. This question for example of the 6% quota of handicapped people in companies:

We need now to respect this quota, that would be good now and we need also an awareness in the population because it is true that some people are afraid of the handicapped because they don’t know them, so the hesitate to employ handicapped people, thinking that there work is less good, and will be absent more often. We know very well that is not the case at all.

And since the hope that is significant in regard to them is not limited by this exhibition

There’s more to it than just talking for three days in at an exhibition, it must happen more often, we talk of it more on the tele, couldn’t we? That we learn to look at people, we learn to speak to them and to see that there is something else behind the handicap, that there are simply human beings.

$Id: 2003_04_soc.htm 35 2021-02-12 12:17:35Z alistair $

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