What I’m about to tell you is one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had that strongly remain engraved in my memory.
In Chiapas I found a welcoming and stimulating environment. I met of wonderful people who remained close to me from the first until the last day of my stay. They offered me their practical and emotional support, which was absolutely essential for the success of this phase of my project.
They are people of great sensitivity, who shared my struggle if it was their own. They arranged every day in Tuxtla Guiterrez organizing conferences, meetings with the media, with the schools and with many associations and institutions in such a way that, both public and private appointments started at 7:30 am and continue until the evening.
I wish to thank very much the Government of Chiapas ( Subsecreteria de Enlace Internacional para la cooperacion and Secretaria de Turismo del Estado de Chiapas ), who arranged for my daily living and my mobility, the affectionate and extraordinary family Anzueto who chairs one of the most important swimming associations in Mexico, whose athletes often participate in World and Olympic Games; the UNACH, ( Universidad Autonoma de Chiapas ), organized a conference in the Aula Magna which was attended by more than 700 people, including students and professors, the DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia) and CRIT (Centro Integral de Rehabilitacion Teleton ), that takes care, among great difficulties but with huge and competent commitment, of rehabilitation and provision of aids and prosthetic devices for people with disabilities. They gave me the opportunity, in two very touching moments, to know and to listen to the world of Mexican disability.
Equality and inclusion were the key words of this penultimate stage that, in my intentions, were fully shared with the people that I met in Chiapas, In my attempt involve as many people as possible in achieving a world that is truly made and fit for everyone.
In order to achieve this it is important to be able to ensure the values that make effective the participation of people with disabilities in the society and in the economic life of each country, in order to allow the full exercise of their rights.
In order to get these values realized, it would be necessary to identify areas of joint action among the various national and international institutions:
Accessibility: People with disabilities need to have access to goods, services and assistive devices. In addition, it must be ensured to them on an equal basis with others, access to transport, structures, technologies of prosthetics, information and communication;
Participation: People with disabilities must be able to fully exercise their fundamental rights linked to citizenship. This strategy must contribute to: remove barriers to mobility, ensure, where necessary and with recourse to the Structural Funds, the quality of hospital care and hospitality residences in specialized organizations as well as to ensure accessibility, facilities and services, including those sporting and cultural activities.
Occupation: social and equal opportunities policies must allow an increase in the number of workers with disabilities on the open labor market, in particular through the development of active employment policies and the improvement of accessibility to workplaces. You also need to act in cooperation with the social partners to facilitate mobility, encourage self-employment and improve the quality of the work.
Education and training: pupils and students with disabilities must have an education system accessible and continuing education programs. As a result, the strategy supports the accessibility to general education systems, to the measures of individual guidance and the training of professionals in the education system.
Health: People with disabilities should have equal access to services and health care facilities. To ensure that the principle of equality, the services must be affordable and tailored to the specific needs of people.
In June of the next year I will conclude this around the world swimming tour, which has become much more than a personal experience. I will swim in a place that represents the navel of Human Rights, that is in the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
This great institution has decided to offer an important opportunity by organizing, at the Manhattan marathon swim, to which I will take part, a panel discussion that will allow me to convey all over the world the urgent need to free the technologies left into the drawers of the leading research centers and to make them accessible to persons with disabilities.
I will appeal to all my strengths and the support of so many peoples (friends?) who have accompanied me in this battle, because I wish that at such event are present those realities such as universities, high-tech companies and polics that, together, are able to effectively outline and purse a path heading to autonomy and independence of people with disabilities, which today is still a mirage for over 800 million people.
In the same way I strongly I ask for the support and presence in New York of all those people who in the past 8 years, through the tour of Italy, the tour of Europe and the around the world swimming tour, wanted to share and support my message: for a world without barriers and borders!
See you in New York