Will work for Justice

 In Stories

As a hearing-impaired person, I’m traveling the world, posting as many non-filtered pictures as I can on Facebook and IG (mateoraft), and blogging about my experiences. In 2016, I traveled to 18 countries in 5 months, going from Colombia to Fiji. I’m going around the world again in 2017 with an emphasis on the Middle East and Arab countries. If I can travel the world alone with just two backpacks, anyone can.

The link between traveling, inclusion, and sustainability is simple: if an app, city, or service truly works, it should be easily navigated by hearing-impaired or otherwise unique persons. After all, who best to provide unique or interesting insights into your city than someone who is an outsider? Whom better to gauge your city’s openness and honesty than a foreigner who does not fit any stereotype?

I already notice positive changes. Translation apps are getting better. Google Maps is asking questions about wheelchair accessibility. The Turkish ride hailing app, BiTaksi, allows users to indicate whether they are hearing impaired, a ingenious way to use technology to remove barriers.

The real value of technology in the 21st century is the ability to travel almost anywhere in the world with just a phone and laptop and make human connections never before possible. The next step is to ensure honest depictions of places and persons and to use technology to create individual checks and balances on misleading information. With just your phone, you can see the world and make it a better place. Let’s make it so. Pillar of Action: Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction, Cultural values, diversity and heritage, mutual understanding, peace and security.

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