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Barriers faced by disabled people in S. Korea and efforts to support them Updated: 2022-04-21 07:08:17 KST

South Korea's public transport is well known for being quick and convenient.
But it isn't quite as convenient for the one out of twenty Koreans who are disabled.

"I'm using a wheelchair myself to go to a nearby subway station that's roughly 600m away from where I am right now.
It's my first time in one of theseso let's see how it goes."

"Now, I've arrived at the station, but as you can see there's no way for me to go up.
I would have to find another entrance or exit with an elevator.
I've learned how inconvenient it is to use a wheelchair for even just a few minutes.
I can't imagine how much disabled people have to go throughhaving to use wheelchairs on a daily basis.
That's why I went to find out what difficulties they face everyday."

Park Myung-hee has been paralyzed since she was just 11 months old.
She's soon to turn 60 and needs a wheelchair to get around.
And she says this hasn't been an easy task.

"The front wheels of a wheelchair are very small. It's very dangerous whenever you're trying to get on the subway because there's a wide gap between the platform and boarding areaso the wheels can slip in. While electric wheelchairs have bigger wheels they take up much more space. So when its crowded on the subway, you can sense that other passengers are disturbed by your presence."

To put a spotlight on the issues facing people with disabilities, South Korea sets aside April 20th every year as the country's Disabled Person's Day and holds many nationwide events.
To mark the day, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has decided to operate buses and taxis specialized for the disabledFREE of charge.

The country has also launched many rehabilitation centers to help the disabled keep fit and learn vocational skills.
Seoul Community Rehabilitation Center was one of the first built in the country.

"We provide customized rehabilitation and educational programs for the disabled and closely interact with the local community. Our center poses an exemplary "one-step" model for other countries like Japan and Vietnam to use as a blueprint."

In just forty years…South Korea has launched some 2-hundred 50 centers for the disabled, helping them live their lives and raising awareness of issues that they face.
Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News.

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