Pilgrims with Disabilities to have Special Attention at WYD

Pilgrims with physical, hearing, visual and intellectual disabilities will have all the support and assistance necessary to participate in the catechesis activities and main events, from those in Copacabana all the way to those of the Campus Fidei, without losing any of the emotion of World Youth Day (WYD) Rio 2013.  120 national and international volunteers will be trained and will assist with those individuals.

Volunteer César Bacchin is responsible for participants with disabilities. He explained that those who require special accommodation will stay in a reserved area in Adaraí, in Rio’s North Zone. “Besides this, there will be special transport which will take them to the main events in Copacabana and Guaratiba. They will be able to choose between staying at the Vigil and returning to the homestay, go just to the Dismissal Mass or remain in the area,” said Bacchin.

Registered disabled pilgrims also will have reserved spaces in all of the main events, with accessible bathrooms and trained volunteers to attend to them. At the Campus Fidei, there will be teams of mechanics who will remain on call, in case of problems with wheelchairs.

Deaf, blind and learning-impaired pilgrims will be allocated in accordance with their countries of origin. “It is important to note that the disabled pilgrims who did not seek special accommodations, will be distributed by the same criteria as the others,” said Bacchin. According to Sister Graça, from the Housing Department, there is the possibility that the handicapped have not asked to stay in the reserved area will be allocated to family homestays.

Bacchin affirmed that, in the catechesis areas, there will be sign-language interpreters for the deaf and hearing-impaired, translating everything that will be shared and taught to the listeners, keeping in mind that sign language varies with each country.

“Those with learning difficulties, for example, must receive support at all times, and the volunteers need to take a course to exercise such a function, through which we will give general instructions of how to act,” Bacchin said.

The main events of World Youth Day are the Opening Mass, Welcoming Pope Francis and Via Crucis, to be done at Copacabana, as well the Prayer Vigil and the Final Mass, which will occur at the Campus Fidei, in Guaratiba.


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