There are seven million severely handicapped people living in Germany; about 17 million people are disabled in some way, or chronically ill. The question of equal participation for them is one that affects all of us – and will become more pressing over time. Most disabilities are not present from birth, but occur during a person's lifetime. In an ageing society, the number of disabled people is bound to rise.
With the 2011 National Action Plan for an inclusive society, Germany embarked upon a journey to change everyday culture. The destination: a society in which people with and without disabilities live together and are able to exercise self-determination in all areas of life, at work, in education or social life.
It is a question of having a high personal quality of life, and of being able to live everyday lives without restrictions. This is why many public services and also companies are working on removing physical barriers, for example in train stations, shops, etc. Barrier-free services represent another broad field of action. To reach the goals of the National Action Plan, organisations and support groups for people with disabilities are working together with businesses and civil society to develop sustainable solutions. What will it take to achieve a comprehensive removal of barriers?