Barrier Busters 2021 – Walking into a City Full of Obstacles with Empathy

The participants express their joy after completing the challenges

The blindfolded participant follows the instructions of his teammate. The challenge is to assess their collaboration skills

Participants during the wheelchair challenge

Participant gets dressed with one arm available

After six months of planning and preparation, Barrier Busters 2021 took place on 12 December 2021 at Chater Road Pedestrian Precinct, Central. Nearly 250 participants completed the challenges across the districts, simulating various disabilities, ranging from visual impairment, hearing loss and physical disabilities.

From getting dressed with one arm, to walking down the road blindfolded with the assistance of other teammates acting as a “human white cane”, the participants had to push themselves out of their comfort zone. During “Barrier Busters 2021”, the wheelchair challenge was considered to be the one that required the most teamwork and agility. To complete this challenge, each team had to assign a member to be temporarily wheelchair-bound. Other teammates had to be creative and figure out the shortest route for the wheelchair-bound teammate to reach the next checkpoint. Some teammates were responsible for clearing the pathways ahead, while others giving directions and proposing alternatives. The task was to assess their ability to build a good rapport and their awareness of accessible facilities because they had to pinpoint such facilities to help the wheelchair-bound teammate finish the race.

While searching for an accessible route, the participants also had to keep an eye on the accessible facilities nearby. Some teams that prioritised safety opted for a steadier route. They found their way avoiding barriers swiftly. Despite a lengthier journey, they were able to arrive on time. Other teams opted for detours and came across with a few stairs on the way, but their native wit allowed them to fetch a piece of wood as a temporary ramp so that the wheelchair-bound participant could complete the challenge. This is a true reflection of the challenge that people with disabilities encounter every day.

The term “Barrier Busters” not only refers to the 250 participants who joined this event, but also the people who have to break barriers in the community in their daily life, including people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, the elderly, people with mobility challenges and pregnant women. Building more accessible facilities in the community will not only improve the lives of the underprivileged, but it will also bring convenience to the able-bodied, particularly those carrying luggage or pushing strollers.

Thanks to support from various stakeholders in society, the total funds raised in Barrier Busters 2021 exceeded 1.7m HKD. The proceeds will be allocated to supporting and developing our services to help people with disabilities or chronic illnesses re-integrate into society and live a more fulfilling life.