Barrier-free as a concept
Have you ever stopped to think about the challenges that parents of small children have to face every day? About how hard it is for one person to pull a stroller up a flight of stairs unassisted? Or about how it must feel to have to try and enter an inaccessible store or a public bus without a special ramp? Most people never stop and think about things like that until they become parents themselves, or until their friends have children. All of these staircases, parkways and steps are barriers that hinder the way of parents or guardians with small children. They also get in the way of people with disabilities (for whom most Ukrainian cities and small towns are mostly inaccessible), elderly people, and other people with reduced mobility.
These hindrances are physical, they limit movement in space. But there are economic and educational barriers, which stop people from getting decent jobs or accessing quality education because they are somehow different. Depending on certain traits such as age, gender, skin color or language, some people might feel excluded from society, unable to exercise their ambitions and civil rights.
All of these barriers don’t just hurt the people they affect directly – they harm society as a whole. When we exclude certain groups from the conversation, we miss out on their unique perspectives and experience. This means lost opportunities for each and every one of us. Only a barrier-free and open society, where people from all backgrounds are treated with respect and are allowed equal opportunities, has the potential for development.
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