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  Promote Social Inclusivity, One Barrier at a Time:

The Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation’s “Barrier Busters”

Enhances Participants’ Understanding of Persons with Disabilities

(Hong Kong, 5 January, 2020) Officiated by Dr. David Fan, The Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation’s signature city-orienteering event “Barriers Busters 2019” is joined by over 200 participants at Jao Tsung-I Academy today. From being blindfolded to being wheelchair-bound, the participants tackle challenges in seven different checkpoints with restricted movement as an attempt to experience the life of persons with disabilities. Thanks to the public’s support, the event has raised over $3.1 million for rehabilitation programs that serve low-income groups, as well as various community education initiatives that help promote a barrier-free city.

The launching ceremony of Barrier Busters 2019 was initiated by Dr. David FANG, President of The Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation, Mr. Benny CHEUNG Wai-leung, Chairperson, Ms. Christine FANG Meng-sang, Vice-Chairperson,  Dr. Edith MOK KWAN Ngan-hing, Vice-Chairperson, Mr. Michael Chan, Chairman of the Operating Committee of Barrier Busters 2019 and Dr. Pamela LEUNG Pui-yu, Chief Executive Officer.

Experience Barrier-free Facilities with Limited Sight and Mobility

In addition to having a user-centred urban planning, building facilities accessible to persons with disabilities, and promoting public awareness of an “inclusive society” are pivotal to making Hong Kong a barrier-free city. “Barrier Busters” sends participants to conduct tasks at different checkpoints designed to provide first-hand experience of using barrier-free facilities in Hong Kong as persons with disabilities or with chronic illnesses. With “Barrier Busters,” the Society aims to promote empathy for persons with disabilities, as well as enhancing the public’s understanding of an “inclusive society.”

21 Teams Complete Missions in 7 Checkpoints

This year, “Barrier Busters” welcomes participants from 5 categories—schools, the rehabilitated, families, corporations and the public. Over 200 participants from 21 teams across these categories join hands to tackle challenges faced by persons with disabilities in seven checkpoints.

Dr. David Fang from the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation shares, “this event (‘Barrier Busters’) sheds light on the disabled by inviting the public to experience ‘adventures’ and difficulties faced by persons with disabilities or chronic illnesses every day. It advocates a barrier-free, inclusive and caring society.”

“This is my first time to participate in an experiential city-orientating event.” expressed by many participants, “This event allows us to have a first-hand experience of the obstacles encountered by persons with disabilities or chronic illnesses in their daily lives, such as the absence of accessibility in public transport, or the loss of balance led by visual impairment.” Other participants feel the lack of support for persons with disabilities.” The society should work hand in hand to show more care and support to make this world a better place.”

Over 70% of the Past Participants Felt Improved Understanding of the Disabled

“Barrier Busters” is the Society’s community education program and annual fundraising event. Last year, the event was a resounding success with over 70% of the participants felt that the event improved their understanding of persons with disabilities or chronic illnesses; while 75% learned more about barrier-free facilities in the community.

The funds raised this year will be used to provide rehabilitation services to low-income groups and community education initiatives that promote a barrier-free city. $1,000 suffices to provide six chronically ill patients who face financial difficulties with timely aid, such as caretaking service, counselling and social support service. This year’s highly-acclaimed “Barrier Busters” unites the public to experience the challenges the disabled endure, in addition to learning the importance of having a barrier-free city.

 

About the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation

Established in 1959, the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation has been a pioneer in driving the development of rehabilitation. The Society provides services for persons in need, ranging from accessible transport and travel to rehabilitation and long-term care. The society also champions the empowerment of persons with disabilities and health challenges, promoting self-help and mutual support to help them restore their potential and participate actively in the community to enjoy a special and fulfilling life. Through research and advocacy, the Society cooperates with stakeholders from different sectors to foster collaborations to build an engaging, inclusive and caring society. The Society has over 30 service units in Hong Kong and Mainland China with an annual attendance exceeding 1.51million.