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Paraplegic Man Builds Wheelchair Ramp Himself to Get Into Health Department

Paraplegic Man Builds Wheelchair Ramp Himself to Get Into Health Department

Written by Stephen Messenger

As recent protests in Brazil have highlighted, basic infrastructure in Latin America’s wealthiest nation is, in many areas, horribly lacking — a fact that the government has failed to address.

Just how bad is it? Well, now disabled people apparently must build their own accommodations to enter public buildings.

Samuel de Oliveira, a paraplegic from the town of Juína, had grown tired of waiting for the city to address a lack of wheelchair accessibility, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Armed with a bucket of cement, wooden frame, and trowel, Samuel headed to the local health department — a building frequented by people with disabilities — and proceeded to construct a wheelchair ramp for himself and others to get inside.

“I cannot stand anymore to pass through here, and I’m tired of waiting for the government,” Samuel tells G1 Globo. “This is why I took the initiative to not wait any longer.”

Samuel, who lost movement in his legs from a gunshot to the spine in 2006, says that medical staff often attend to patients in wheelchairs on the street because they have a hard time getting inside, something he says feels humiliating. The local mayor, in response to the Samuel’s action, has since apologized and promised that this issue of accessibility will be addressed better going forward.

Failing infrastructure and unresponsive government leaders have been cited as a major issue contributing to the ongoing protests springing up in cities throughout Brazil. As the nation spends billions preparing stadiums for the World Cup, accommodations for the disabled in many places are virtually non-existent — a fact that continues to go unresolved.

Though building a single wheelchair ramp may be a small action, it is perhaps indicative of a bigger realization among the Brazilian people — that when things aren’t working, it’s up to them to fix it.

This post was originally published at TreeHugger.

 

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76 comments

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9:13AM PDT on Jul 21, 2013

A lot of us in wheelchairs are not capable of such a brave and challenging act. Where I live in the UK the pavements (sidewalks?) are so bumpy and rough that I am in too much pain to tackle them on a regular basis. Only heavy medication can help me cope and I am sure this is not just my problem. I so wish that the authorities with 'power' cared, worldwide.

9:06PM PDT on Jul 14, 2013

Defining Beauty: Ms. Wheelchair America:Defining Beauty: Ms. Wheelchair America, narrated by Katey Sagal, is a captivating feature length documentary that proves a beauty pageant is more than just a sash and a crown. This inspiring piece follows five women with disabilities on their journeys towards the 2010 Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant and explores the lives they lead in the face of adversity. Each woman handles a multitude of challenges on a daily basis with grace and strength, showing that belief in oneself is the most powerful force in life.
http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/10038

2:46PM PDT on Jul 14, 2013

Thank you TreeHugger, for Sharing this!

4:15PM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

Unfortunately, football is more important!

8:18PM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

Inspirable info. Thank you.

2:58AM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

Bravo Samuel ! En vous facilitant l'accès à cet endroit, vous avez également démontrer à cette institution gouvernementale que l'aide aux personnes handicapées laissait à désirer.

10:21PM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

Bravo Samuel!
"Though building a single wheelchair ramp may be a small action, it is perhaps indicative of a bigger realization among the Brazilian people — that when things aren’t working, it’s up to them to fix it."

7:27PM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

From one step comes the trip of a thousand miles. Bravo to the gentleman!

2:38AM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

Goof 4 him! Sad though...

7:04PM PDT on Jul 7, 2013

This one is STILL too cool for school...

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