It’s that time of year again, today (September 24th) is Make Way Day here in Ireland.
A day coordinated by the Disability Federation of Ireland. The main aim of the Make Way Day campaign is to have a country where everyone is equally valued. In the past, on this day, those within the disabled community and their supporters would come together to help highlight obstacles they face in public spaces such as:
- Cars parked up on paths
- Wheelie bins on pathways
- Overhanging tree branches
- Bikes tied to poles and railings
- Sandwich boards blocking access to walkways
Over the years there has been a growing level of support coming from local county councils and the public to help everyone become more aware of these obstacles.
Last year, we wrote about how Make Way Day was going digital because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year we wanted to share some of the results from a survey carried out by the DFI in 2021 to see what the top 3 obstacles still faced by those with disabilities.
The Top 3 Obstacles Still Faced Since 2018
- Cars and Vans parked on footpaths
- Wheelie bins on footpaths
- Sandwich boards on footpaths
The point of MWD is not to point fingers but to make everyone more aware of their actions. The top 3 obstacles above have affected so many in accessing day-to-days services such as:
- The bank/post office/credit unions
- Getting into work/school/collage
- Visiting the doctors or going to the pharmacy
- Getting onto public transport
- Using public restrooms.
Sadly, we can see that the 3 biggest obstacles from their 2018 survey are the same this year and the parking on footpaths has been upgraded to ”problematic”. On top of this, the outdoor culture appears to be ignoring the needs of the needs of those with disabilities.
Now more than ever, as we start to open the country back up, it is important to remember that we open the country up to everyone so that everyone has total and complete access.
The Make Way Day Plan
Since we cannot yet say farewell to COVID 19, the team over at Make Way Day headquarters have adapted the plan. They invite everyone to carry out a survey of their area with their easy-to-use online tool.
Make Way Day 5K
Using the MWD Tool (which is mobile friendly) you will be able to draw attention to anything in your area that is a barrier for you or others.
It’s a quick and easy exercise that is mainly picture based and you can use it as often as you like.
Here is a quick and snappy video on how the tool works:
The aim of the game here is to have everyone’s 5K journeys join up to give an inclusive map of Ireland. The the results will be collected and shared with the right people in order to solve these accessibility issues.
If for some reason the online tool isn’t working for you or you would prefer not to use it. You can still take part in the Make Way Day 5K. Simply take pictures on your phone of obstacles and post your photos to social media. Don’t forget to include the #MakeWayDay21 and tag @MakeWayDay and @Disabilityfed in your social media post.