The country made giant strides in accessibility during 2022 with several achievements, including making the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 one of the most accessible tournaments in history.
During the year that concluded Saturday, several initiatives were launched to ensure all sections of the society have access to key facilities and services in the country. With the World Cup in focus, there were special efforts to ensure that nobody is left out from watching and enjoying the matches.
“From the very beginning of our journey to host this historic tournament, our commitment to accessibility has been unwavering. Not only did we work diligently to see that stadiums and tournament sites met the highest accessibility standards, we also actively involved the disabled community to make sure the World Cup creates a lasting legacy for the disabled community beyond Qatar 2022,” said HE Hassan al- Thawadi, Secretary General, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy ( SC) while speaking at one of the events in November.
Qatar 2022 featured a number of firsts for disabled fans, including the availability of audio descriptive commentary in Arabic at all matches. Three stadiums hosted sensory rooms for fans with sensory access requirements, while every match venue was built to exacting accessibility standards, including accessible parking, seating, bathrooms and concession stands.
Members of the Accessibility Forum worked closely with organisations in the transportation, hospitality and cultural sectors to make Qatar more accessible. The result has been substantial enhancements – making it easier for people to move around the country and access key sites and services.
Qatar Foundation (QF) is one organisation that has been in the forefront promoting accessibility with several programmes in the recent years. In the run up to the World Cup, QF launched a special guide, an e-guide, ‘Qatar for All', to support people of all abilities to explore Qatar.
QF had already initiated another initiative ‘Ability Friendly Programme’ which is open to members of the community through QF’s Qader Award regardless of their financial circumstances and provides people with specific needs and disabilities to participate in specialised sports programmes free of cost.
The QF guide made available in Arabic, English and in braille versions help better enable everyone to navigate through Doha’s rich cultural, educational, and entertainment experiences. Inspired by the demand for accessibility-specific information, the inclusive guide is built based on the experiences and recommendations of people with disabilities.
QF’s guide enables users to explore 30 attractions and experiences, saving time and effort for those looking for places suitable for people with disabilities. The guide is also designed for everyone, including the elderly and with children in strollers. The one of its kind in Qatar, the guide clearly details some of the rich experiences that everyone can partake in; from culture, education to entertainment.
By delivering an amazing World Cup, Qatar has set the accessibility standards so high and ensured that accessibility is a core aspect of community development in the country.
QF providing accessibility services during a football match