Meet the disability activists campaigning to make Vietnam accessible


When wheelchair person Hieu Luu goes outdoors her residence in Hanoi, the cracked, road stall-covered pavements are inaccessible, ATMs are unreachable, most buses don’t provide entry ramps and metropolis site visitors is a terrifying frenzy of motorbikes and SUVs.

Yet Hieu, who’s campaigning for change on TikTok, refuses to keep at residence in concern.

Hieu, who has cerebral palsy, has garnered thousands and thousands of views on TikTok after making movies that reveal the fraught actuality of accessing public transport and providers in the Vietnamese capital and even simply crossing chaotic metropolis streets.

“Most of my videos are about accessibility,” she says. “For example, which bank can a wheelchair user get into? Until now, I’ve made 20 videos, mainly in Vietnam but also in Japan. Two went viral on TikTok, gaining over four million views.”

The 32-year-old’s quick clips reveal, with attribute cheekiness, how individuals with disabilities can entry buses in Hanoi, how wheelchair customers are typically ignored, and compares crossing the highway in Japan and Vietnam.

Hieu travels at peak times in Hanoi, along with countless other road users. It is hard enough to get around in Hanoi, but for people with disabilities, it is even more challenging. Hieu travels at peak occasions in Hanoi, together with numerous different highway customers. It is difficult sufficient to get round in Hanoi, however for individuals with disabilities, it’s much more difficult.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Hieu additionally spent greater than a 12 months testing disability entry in Japan with the Duskin management programme. The spectacular accessibility she encountered there – she was even ready to go snowboarding in a wheelchair – opened her eyes to one other way of life.

“When I got here again to Vietnam,” Hieu says, “I couldn’t find any information regarding accessibility. Even when I see the bus, they only show where to go. They don’t show which bus is accessible, so I had to learn by myself how to use the bus.”

There are 6.2 million individuals with disabilities in Vietnam, accounting for about 7% of the inhabitants, in accordance to a report revealed by Unicef in 2019.

A disability legislation enacted by the authorities in 2010 ought to guarantee individuals with disabilities are ready to take part in all areas of society, however it’s hardly ever enforced and doesn’t cowl discrimination.

Tuan needs special transport to get around in Hanoi, a challenging city for those with handicaps.Tuan wants particular transport to get round in Hanoi, a difficult metropolis for these with handicaps.

“I contacted the bus firm to encourage them to share extra details about the entry ramp,” Hieu provides. “In the beginning, even the marketing team was not aware of what they have. I showed them the videos. I told them that this is what you have to share… Why don’t you share it?

“Most of the people who use the bus in Hanoi are from minority groups,” she continued. “Old people, children, people who cannot ride motorbikes, and people like me. Why don’t you share information with your target users?”

VinBus, one among solely two firms in Hanoi providing entry ramps, has responded to Hieu, saying they’ll share extra data on accessibility and embody individuals with disabilities of their advertising and marketing movies.

Hieu additionally runs a help group for round 50 individuals with cerebral palsy, which goals to encourage them to exit usually.

A social media campaign is raising awareness about accessibility issues for those with disabilities or difficulties walking in Hanoi. A social media marketing campaign is elevating consciousness about accessibility points for these with disabilities or difficulties strolling in Hanoi.

Dinh Quoc Tuan is one among the individuals who attends Hieu’s help group. Although he requires a specialised van to journey lengthy distances, of which there’s just one in the total nation, he has been residing independently from his household for 12 years.

Tuan has additionally run campaigns to make sure that service suppliers reminiscent of banks in addition to bus and prepare firms change their angle in direction of minority teams.

In Vietnam, nearly all authorities places of work, trains and money machines stay inaccessible.“In general, Hanoi is not accessible for people with disabilities, so it is very difficult to move around,” Tuan says. “The most challenging for me is the inaccessible roads and no support from the government for personal assistants.”

Tuan receives a million Vietnamese Dong (round RM190) from the authorities every month, however says: “What would make my life easier is having accessible transport and a stable income. One million Vietnamese Dong per month is not enough.”

Many people in Hanoi complain about the difficulty of walking along the city's largely inaccessible streets, without thinking about what they take for granted.Many people in Hanoi complain about the difficulty of walking along the city’s largely inaccessible streets, without thinking about what they take for granted.

Amid rampant discrimination against wheelchair users and the inaccessibility of vital public services, many people with disabilities either stay at home in fear, or are kept at home by their families, yet Hieu remains resolute in her response:

“Even though we had the disability law issued in 2010,” Hieu provides, “Nobody knows what accessibility means. That’s why so many wheelchair users don’t dare to go out. And that’s why I decided to make the videos – to encourage more people to go out.” – dpa

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