Can a ramp for people with disabilities make a difference in a big city? The answer may seem obvious to many, but I encourage you to read on to find out the complexities and nuances surrounding the issue of mobility in a large Latin American metropolis. This is a true story. I was attending the launch of a project “Mainstreaming Inclusive Design and Universal Mobility in Lima ”project - financed by the Japan Policy and Human Resources Development (PHRD) program and I was surprised to see people in wheelchairs asked to move away from the table where coffee, pastries and fruit were being served during the break.
At the same time blind, deaf and people with cognitive impairments, among other disabilities, were being actively welcomed.
Less than one hour from the burgeoning, cosmopolitan boutiques and coffee shops of Lima’s chic San Isidro district, Carmen shares a one-room, patched-up wooden shack with her in-laws and her three small children in the outskirts of Ventanilla, an impoverished area north of Lima.
She is distraught, one side of her face paralyzed from stress as she faces the unimaginable: eviction from her humble dwelling and the possibility of tuberculosis striking again her two year old, and herself too.