On September 7th, the world's attention will once again fall onto the Brazilian city of Rio De Janeiro for the start of the 2016 Paralympic Games.
Flying the flag for Accomable, our co-founder and CEO, Srin Madipalli will be visiting Rio to take part in a keynote summit on inclusion being organised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Srin shares his thoughts, hopes and concerns for the upcoming trip in this blog post.
Visiting Rio is a dream come true. I love travelling and seeing the world. I love what we do at Accomable to make travel accessible to all. I also love sport and watching great competitions between amazingly talented people who are the best at what they do.
So travelling to Rio presented the opportunity to combine these three loves to embark on a once in a lifetime trip.
What on earth will I be doing there?
Apart from drinking caipirinhas on Copacabana beach, my main role will be to present at a major conference the IPC are hosting on the 15th and 16th of September on inclusion - the Inclusion Summit.
My talk will focus on how I think technology can be used to increase inclusion and equality; but also, how we at Accomable are trying to extend the sharing economy to a disabled audience of billions of people around the world.
It's a topic close to my heart and is something I believe will become increasingly topical as technology and the sharing economy become ever more mainstream; and the risks of further excluding disabled people become greater without any opposing voices.
Other speakers at the event will include key figures from the IPC, industry, media, NGO sector and the Brazilian Government.
Are you doing anything else?
Yes, I'll also be showcasing Accomable at an event hosted by the British Foreign Office to showcase leading companies from the UK's technology sector that are looking to improve the lives of disabled people. We'll be exhibiting on the 12th at the British House in Rio.
Erm... what about the sport?
Don't worry, I haven't forgot about that! I intend to take a couple of days to venture around the Paralympic park and take some of the sporting action. My main priorities are to watch athletics, basketball and wheelchair rugby.
Do you have any worries or concerns?
Yes, quite a few on a number of different levels. At a macro level, hearing all the problems that have been faced in the run up to the games has been disappointing. Whether it be funding shortfalls for competitors, cutbacks to the events, terrible ticket sales or Russian doping scandals, one cannot deny the wider negative effect on the Paralympic movement and the important role the event plays in promoting inclusion and equality.
What makes this more difficult to swallow is that as a Londoner, I saw first hand in the jam-packed stadiums how the London 2012 Paralympics had a hugely positive effect.
Nonetheless, I remain hopeful that despite these problems, some good will come out of these games, even if it is limited / focused to raising the profile of disability in Brazil.
Aside from the macro level issues; finding and arranging accessible travel in Rio has been hard. There are few accessible taxi companies and hence I'll have to rely on special transport organised by the IPC for people taking part in IPC events. My family have also been fretful in relation to safety issues in Rio, which I can do little about, apart from making sure I follow all precautions and guidance provided by the IPC and the British Foreign Office.
Ok, this sounds like it'll be an interesting trip!
Yes! I have no doubt. I'll keep you updated through the trip and share my insights on my adventure to Rio!
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