Working for change 25
Here is a story about people with disabilities who formed a group that made
great change in their city.
Making a city accessible
In Ekaterinburg, Russia, the Freedom of Movement Society has been
working together with the city government to make their city more
accessible. Russian law requires that people with disabilities should be able
to use public buildings and buses, but many places are still not accessible.
The city government in Ekaterinburg developed a disability program to
make buildings accessible.
But a group of people with disabilities who use wheelchairs or crutches
realized that, even though the government had been trying to help, many of the
places they had changed were still hard for disabled people to use. They realized
the government could not do it without the help of people with disabilities.
So the people with disabilities formed the
Freedom of Movement Society. They started
by making a list of the most important
places in the city to make accessible. They
met with city officials, and showed them the
list. The city realized they needed the advice
of people with disabilities. The Freedom of
Movement Society made sure their members
were included in the city committee that
became responsible for improving access.
The people with disabilities had to approve
any project the committee decided to do.
The Freedom of Movement Society created guidelines that architects
could use to make buildings accessible. They were able to take photographs
of buildings they wanted to fix, and then draw clear pictures of how to
Now, the old buildings are slowly being changed. And the new guidelines
are used all over the city. Because of the work of the Freedom of Movement
Society, all new office buildings and many other buildings are accessible to
people with disabilities. New sidewalks are lowered in places for people who
use wheelchairs. The new city mall is easy for people with disabilities to use.
The Freedom of Movement Society also got the city to make several schools
as well as the city’s movie theater accessible.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007