Today, the Pyramids of Giza hosted “Egypt walk for inclusion”, where fifty disabled Egyptian athletes and children participated.
This walk is organized to promote the importance of public inclusion of people with disabilities in Egypt, using assistive technologies.
During the walk, the athletes and children were accompanied by Dr. Khaled El Enany, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Dr. Nevin El-Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity, and endurance sports professional and goodwill ambassador for Arab countries in the United Nations Development Program, Michael Haddad, and Ashraf Mohi El-Din, Director General of the Pyramids area .
Dr. Khaled El Enany, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities expressed his happiness that this walk took place at the Giza Pyramids. He said that it’s a message from one of the most important global cultural heritage landmarks, to emphasize Egypt's support to inclusive tourism, making its landmarks accessible to everyone without any barriers. He added “we strive to achieve this as it’s our social responsibility and a commitment to all Egyptians and foriegners, to enjoy the oldest and most ancient civilization in the world.
The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities talked about the ministry's efforts to make all archaeological sites and museums accesible to people with special abilities, as all necessary means are provided to allow a comfortable visit for them.
The walk, which was organized by the United Nations Development Program and the Egyptian Sports Federation for Mental Disabilities , under the auspices of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, contributes to raising awareness of the importance of providing appropriate assistive technologies in order to empower people with disabilities by supporting their independence and self-reliance.
Randa Abo El Hassan, Representative of the United Nations Development Program in Egypt, said: “Through the 2030 Agenda and the sustainable development goals resulting from it, all world leaders promised to make all places inclusive and that development leaves no one behind. The assistive technologies that facilitate the lives of people with disabilities and their participation in their societies enhances an important role in achieving that promise”, she added “We are pleased to cooperate with all relevant authorities to support efforts aimed at providing appropriate assistive technologies for all, developing them and producing them locally".
People with disabilities, represent 10-15% of the world’s population with more than a billion people, about 12 million of them live in Egypt, depend on assistive technologies of various kinds to help them perform basic functions in their daily lives that may be difficult or sometimes seem impossible. It ranges from simple technologies such as movement aids from crutches and wheelchairs to advanced technologies of assistive devices for hearing, vision, speech and memory via computer and mobile phones, artificial limbs and state-of-the-art electronic and mechanical prosthetic devices.
Michael Haddad said that he was honored today to participate with his fellow Egyptian athletes. He added “Let us send together a message of hope and determination to work tirelessly to promote the full participation of people with disabilities in Egypt and the Arab region, and the whole world in all walks of life on an equal footing and without barriers.” He said “I would not have started this endeavor from anywhere else except from Egypt, cradle of the world, which has a special place in my heart, and in the hearts of many people in the Middle east and the whole world.”
Egypt's walk for Inclusion for People with Disabilities is the first in which Michael Haddad takes part outside of his country, Lebanon in a series of walks he seeks to accomplish in several countries as part of his initiative "Steps to Overcome the Covid Pandemic". It aims to raise awareness and mobilize resources to help mitigate the effects and negative impact of the pandemic on one of the most affected groups - people with disabilities - and the call for an inclusive recovery for all after the pandemic, as part of his role as a regional ambassador of goodwill for climate action in the United Nations Development Program.