Bringing Dahabians face-to-face with the mobility challenges of people with disabilities, ‘Helm’ launched ‘Dahab Disability Week’, upgrading the town's streets with colourful new ramps.
In the shadow of Egypt’s Sinai mountains, the small town of Dahab is a haven for the world’s thrill-seekers, nature lovers and diving enthusiasts. Part of Dahab’s inimitable charm is its unpaved roads and humble infrastructure. While this is appealing to the free-spirited crowd, it has proven to be an ordeal for people with disabilities. As Egypt revs up development in Sinai to drive more tourism to the Red Sea diving hub, NGO ‘Helm’ (Arabic for ‘Dream’) has capitalized on these efforts to implement a series of infrastructural and policy changes to enhance accessibility and promote inclusivity.
Bringing Dahabians face-to-face with the mobility challenges of people with disabilities, ‘Helm’ launched ‘Dahab Disability Week’, under the umbrella of the broader ‘Accessible Tourism Project in Dahab’ plan with the South Sinai Governorate and Orascom Construction.
“We’ve been preparing for Dahab Accessibility Week for almost a year and finally our vision for creating a more accessible Dahab has come to fruition,” Ramez Maer, co-founder of Helm, tells CairoScene. “We were in Dahab training government officials, locals and business owners on how to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities through inclusive practices. We’re currently working on constructing the first accessible ramp directly to the beachfront. We’re building and distributing ramps as well as making adjustments to several important buildings including schools, hospitals, governmental facilities and even dive centres.”
Helm installed a total of 20 ramps for community partners and businesses lining Dahab’s main walkway along a distance of 500 metres. In an unprecedented move in Egypt, the NGO also worked on implementing infrastructure changes for the main access points of the beach in the most popular part of Dahab. Inclusion is the cornerstone of social development, and Helm hopes with this latest project they can promote Dahab as a model of accessible touristic cities in Egypt and MENA and ease the movement of people with disabilities across the region.