Sasol, the international integrated chemicals and energy company, announced today the launch of the Accessible Qatar initiative under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Rumaihi, Minister of Municipality and Environment, at Katara Hall in the presence of high-profile officials, dignitaries and media personnel.
Responding to the need for reliable and vetted information about the accessibility of popular venues across the nation, Accessible Qatar will bring new mobility and further inclusion for the disabled community in Qatar. The Accessible Qatar smartphone application and website are now available in Arabic and English with accessibility features free of charge for all users.
Sasol has developed this initiative in partnership with The Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Qatar Tourism Authority, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Mada, and Shafallah Center, and in close collaboration with Qatar Social & Cultural Center for the Blind, and The Qatari Center of Social Cultural for the Deaf.
By accessing Accessible Qatar, the disabled community and other individuals are able to view popular public and touristic venues in Qatar and see whether they are accessible and in what way before setting off or while en route. At launch, 50 locations around Qatar, ranging from retail locations to hotels and public parks have been audited by an expert in the field and detailed information is available for people with various types of disabilities.
Additionally, the application also allows users to rate and submit their own reviews about the accessibility of venues around the country. The objective of the application is to allow the disabled community and tourists to move about more conﬁdently, knowing they can arrive and leave any spot without unwelcome surprises that limit access. Moreover, having accessibility information publicly available on Accessible Qatar will encourage venues to make necessary modification in support of accessibility for all patrons.
Commenting on the launch, Sheikh Faleh bin Nasser Al-Thani, Undersecretary Assistant for General Services Affairs, representing H.E. Mr. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Rumaihi, Minister of Municipality and Environment at the launch event said, “We are pleased to be partnered with Sasol on this significant initiative. The Ministry of Municipality takes the matter of accessibility very seriously, as one of our objectives is to build more accessible infrastructure and oversee Qatar’s progress towards being an internationally acclaimed accessible city. We believe that this application will be very beneficial for the local community and strongly urge all of the organizations across Qatar to renovate and improve their existing venues, in support of accessibility. The Ministry of Municipality will strive to ensure that future projects are fully accessible for the local community and tourists coming to Qatar.”
A series of roadshows were conducted in order to introduce the initiative to the disabled community and gain their insight and feedback on the application prior to its launch. Sasol participated in the “Weyakom” awareness day an initiative by Qatar University, where students, professors and officials were introduced to the application and had the chance to test out the beta version. Moreover, Sasol addressed the disabled community during sessions at the Qatari Center of Social Cultural for the Deaf and Qatar Social and Cultural Center for Blind.
Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) partnered with Sasol in the development of the “Accessible Qatar” application. As QTA works in partnership with public and private stakeholders to plan, regulate and promote a sustainable and diverse tourism industry, the initiative aligned with QTA’s broader regulatory mandate to ensure that the development of the tourism sector is inclusive of the disabled community’s needs. It ensures that disabled individuals in Qatar, whether visitors or residents, benefit from the new standards of accessibility in the country’s tourist establishments and venues.
Fatma Al-Nuaimi, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s Senior Legacy Manager, said: “We are proud to work with so many key stakeholders on such an important initiative. The development of this app goes far beyond simply accessing the stadiums which will be used for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It will aid in facilitating the day-to-day lives of many people in our communities, encourage accessibility in many of Qatar’s most popular destinations, while offering a platform to give feedback if accessibility is not what it should be.”
Accessible Qatar builds on Sasol’s ongoing Definitely Able CSR initiative. The concept for the initiative grew out of a session held during last year’s Definitely Able Conference, where disabled individuals from around Qatar, the region and the world discussed inclusion for people with disability as full members of society.
Phinda Vilakazi, President of GTL Ventures at Sasol said, “Sasol is honoured to have worked with partners across Qatari society to develop the Accessible Qatar initiative, which is an extension of our Definitely Able corporate CSR platform. Definitely Ableaims to highlight the positive contributions of, and create opportunities for, people living with disabilities. We believe this new resource responds to the needs of the community, and creates a resource with the vision to allow every disabled individual in Qatar to view all of the accessible venues around the country. We are confident that this initiative will empower the local disabled community and work towards achieving inclusion in Qatari society, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030. We thank all of our partners for their support on this initiative.”
Dr. Amal Al-Malki, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, said, “Hamad Bin Khalifa University has been working with Sasol from the very beginning on Accessible Qatar through our Translation and Interpreting Institute. We believe that this initiative will make lives easier for the disabled community here in Qatar. We are pleased with the contributions we have made to the application and congratulate Sasol on this important initiative.”
Adding to its commitment to support inclusion, Jack Saba, General Manager of Public Affairs at Sasol, announced that the company has agreed with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment to install the first inclusive playground in Qatar, which will be installed at one of the public parks in Doha later this year. The playground includes special features that allow disabled children to participate in play alongside their friends.
Supporting partners of Accessible Qatar include Mada (Qatar Assistive Technology Center), Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs, The Qatari Center of Social Cultural for the Deaf, and Qatar Social and Cultural Center for Blind. The launch event included an art exhibition showcasing paintings created by students of the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs and various artwork pieces made by representatives of the Qatari Center for the Deaf.
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