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V'air低碳本地遊獲滾動力量（Wheel Power Challenge）邀請，協辦「Wheel We Meet@港島南」輪椅體驗。活動在週日（2018年3月25日）順利舉辦，參加者親身了解到輪椅使用者的需要。當天參加者共分成四隊，輪流試坐輪椅，體驗傷殘人士每日出行遇到的困難。在體驗的同時，參加者透過觀察及紀錄社區設計，進行「無障礙旅遊調查」（Barrier-Free Travel Interview），期望能整合無障礙資料，讓輪椅使用者更安心地出遊。V'air是次活動負責規劃遊逛鴨脷洲的路線，並提供低碳遊資訊，讓參加者更深入了解南港島的歷史和生態。V'air稍後會將此無障礙路線加入網站，給輪椅使用者多一個外遊的好去處，讓他們能接觸不同社區，感受各區的風情，並將低碳本地遊的概念帶到傷健共融的社群。
- 金寶海鮮酒家 (已結業)
- 海港食家 (已結業)
活動完成後，各位參加者輪流分享感受，很多人表示體驗後會更留意傷殘人士的需要，即使一個梯級、地面少許不平也會成為莫大的障礙。一位參加者說，參加前不明白為何這個體驗活動同時稱作義工活動，完成活動後明白了箇中原因。Wheel Power Challenge的義工附和，表述學習與服務之間緊密的關係。“Learn before you serve”，我們要照顧輪椅使用者，首先要明白和理解他們的需要，而參加體驗正正是了解他們最真實的需求。以後大家看到商店前的一級，就會聯想到它造成的障礙。港鐵站內儘量不去乘坐升降機，預留位置給真正有需要的人。
V'air Hong Kong was invited by Wheel Power Challenge to hold the wheelchair experience activity“Wheel We Meet@Southern Hong Kong Island”. The activity was successfully held on 25th March, participants learned firsthand about the needs of wheelchair users. Natalie Chung and Kitty Wong represented V'air at the event, where they designed the route and led guided tour for participants to explore the history and culture of Southern Island.
On that day, participants were divided into four teams, taking turns to try on a wheelchair and experience the daily difficulties encountered by the disabled. At the same time, participants observe and record community design which is ‘Barrier-Free Travel Interview’, in order to integrate accessible information to make wheelchair users more comfortable. V'air Hong Kong is responsible for planning the route to visit Ap Lei Chau and providing low-carbon travel information to give participants a deeper understanding of the history and ecology of Southern Hong Kong Island. This barrier-free route will be added to the website later, giving wheelchair users a good place to travel, so that they can reach out to different communities, experience the style of each district, and bring the concept of low-carbon local tour to the inclusive community of the disabled and able-bodied.
On the lunar calendar, 13th February is Ap Lei Chau's "Birth of Hong Shing", which is the 29th March on the new calendar. So on the day of the event, there was a series of performance parades to celebrate "Birth of Hong Shing". There were loads of people in Ap Lei Chau and it was very lively. The route starts from Admiralty MTR Station Exit F, as it is the only exit with a lift. Participants must first experience the platform from Admiralty Station to the South Island Line. The road section is actually very complicated. The waiting for the lift is very long. The highest peak is a wheelchair waiting for 6 lifts in order to enter. During peak hours, if there is no need, please take the elevator as little as possible and switch to escalator. Usually it takes 10 minutes from the Admiralty to reach the platform of the South Island Line, wheelchair users need spend 30 minutes or even longer.
At this tour of Ap Lei Chau, we started in Lei Tung and left in South Horizons. We took the South Island Line to get off at Li Tung Station and left at A1 exit "Ap Lei Chau Main Street". Everyone felt hungry and was fatigued by a long journey, so we went off to Ap Lei Chau Main Street which is filled with restaurants to search for food. There are several conditions that wheelchair users should consider when choosing a restaurant. What is an accessible restaurant? The most basic is that there is no step at the entrance, and at most there can be only one level of very short steps. In addition, the chair must be movable so that the wheelchair can be "parked" next to the table, although the height of the table is preferably up to the height of the wheelchair user.
According to our personal verification on the same day, we can confirm that the following restaurants are accessible for wheelchair users:
After that, we all went to Hong Shing Street in order to watch "Birth of Hong Shing" festival's parade. This festival
is to commemorate Hong Shing Tai Wong. According to history, King Hong Shing is a minister of the Tang Dynasty. He is proficient in astronomical geography and often helps fishermen. After the death of Hong Shing, the spirit was not destroyed. He saved the people many times and was enshrined as "Poseidon". As Ap Lei Chau is a coastal town, many residents used to fish for a living, they built a Hong Shing Temple to worship King Hong Shing in 1773. This temple is of great significance to the fishermen, it is the most important temple on Ap Lei Chau and is now a declared monument. It has a history of more than 200 years, precious historical artifacts are preserved in the temple, including the ancient bells cast in 1773 and the Shiwan pottery in the Qing Dynasty.
"Birth of Hong Shing" is the annual event of Ap Lei Chau, attracting a large number of residents to come and worship. 25th March was the weekend before "Birth of Hong Shing". The scene of Hong Shing Street was lively, with dragon and lion dance performances, Chinese ceremonies, traditional Chinese dances, etc. On "Birth of Hong Shing", the lunar calendar on 13th February ( 29th March), chinese opera will be performed in accordance of traditional customs.
After visiting the Shi Hong temple , the participants took a wheelchair along the charming Ap Lei Chau waterfront to the Wind Tower Park. There are some railings on the waterfront from time to time. The original intention is to block bicycles, trolleys, etc., but the needs of wheelchair users are not fully considered. The wheelchair can merely passes through the gap between the two railings. The railings at the entrance to the Wind Tower Park are denser, and large wheelchairs are difficult to pass, posing obstacles for wheelchair users.
The Wind Tower Park was built in 2009 and the government invested 100 million hkd to build. The park blends in the culture of the fishing village of Ap Lei Chau. The most distinctive landmark is the "Tower of the Wind" at the end of the park. This sail canvas-shaped building is an observation deck that senses wind. The lights on the sails in the evening are used to reflect the wind speed. For example, green light represents no wind, and red light represents the wind speed of No. 8 typhoon or above. The electricity of the "Tower of the Wind" is generated from solar panels, which environmental friendly concept is implemented. There is a sundial next to the tower of the wind, and the reflection shows the time. You can check with the watch to verify the wisdom of ancient China.
The Palace of Water and Moon (Shui Yuet Kong) is located in the middle of the park. It is a Goddess of Mercy (Kwun Yum) Temple and is listed as a grade three historical building. However, there is a row of stairs in front of the temple, which is a big obstacle for wheelchair users to visit and worship. If a slope can be added, the temple can be turned into "accessible".
Another major obstacle to wheelchair users is the lack of disabled toilets. Toilets for the disabled can only be found in government buildings, parks, shopping malls, etc. There are very few toilets for the disabled on the streets. Therefore, the participants first solved their needs in the disabled bathroom in the Wind Tower Park. Moreover, someone asked why the disabled toilets are best to be independent, not in the men's or women's toilets. This is a concern that the caregiver may not be the same sex as the wheelchair user.
On the return trip, we would like to try to walk to the South Horizons Station on a wheelchair. The neighborhood said that there is a shortcut nearby the Wind Tower Park, which leads to the South Horizons Station. But this path is a long flight of stairs and certainly not suitable for wheelchair users. We went to the A2 exit of Li Tung Station, took the lift to the ground floor and reached the Ap Lei Chau Bridge. This is a wheelchair-friendly "shortcut" that leads to the South Horizons MTR station. We walked around the promenade, then we went to the south wing of the South Horizons Mall to find the disabled toilet, and went to get some snacks.
After the event, participants took turns to share their feelings. Many people said that they will pay more attention to the needs of the disabled, even a step and an uneven ground will become a big obstacle. One participant said that before the event, he did not understand why this experience activity was also called a volunteer activity. After completing it, he understood the reason. Volunteers of the Wheel Power Challenge organisation explained about the relationship between learning and serving: “Learn before you serve.” To take care of wheelchair users, we must first understand their needs, and the experience is to let us learn about their true needs. In the future, when we see the level before the store, we will think of the obstacles caused by it. We will also try not to take the lifts in the MTR station and reserve a location for those who really in need.