Continuing to promote awareness about accessibility, Sasol, the international integrated chemicals and energy company, under its Accessible Qatar initiative, delivered Accessibility Awareness Training to the staff at the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) on 5 November 2019. The one-day workshop involved practical advice and information about how to assist disabled guests and visitors.
Jennifer Stirling, Sasol’s Accessibility Consultant led the workshop to enable NMoQ staff understand the key accessibility awareness that should be addressed when around disabled people. The workshop provided insights about international best practices, different models of disability, including invisible disabilities such as autism and Sensory Processing Disorder, in addition to discussing the barriers that prevent inclusion to people with disabilities.
During the session, a special workshop on autism and related disorders was facilitated by Raana Smith and Alison Saraf, cofounders of Sensory Souk, a locally-based company. The workshop aimed to develop a deeper understanding of this form of disability.
The workshop also included interactive break-out sessions with real-life scenarios and challenges involving guests with different disabilities. The museum representatives had to come up with practical solutions that would assist these guests and allow them to have a full and fun experience at the NMoQ.
Commenting on the workshop, Jack Saba, GM of Public Affairs at Sasol said: “Accessible Qatar aspires to build an inclusive society where disabled people can explore and enjoy more of Qatar without any limits. The training workshops that we hold help promote the culture of inclusion and accessibility and show its importance and benefits for the entire nation. It is highly commendable that the National Museum of Qatar is desirous to provide this training to its staff in order to better serve the disabled community in Qatar. We thank them for giving us this opportunity and also thank Sensory Souk for being part of this workshop and look forward to further cooperation to provide more assistance for the disabled community in Qatar.”
Earlier this year, Accessible Qatar conducted a physical accessibility audit at the National Museum of Qatar and worked together to make the museum more accessible to people with disabilities. NMoQ places people at the heart of the museum’s vision and development offering multi-layered thematic exhibits, interactive storytelling, and tours designed for people of all abilities to ensure that the heritage of Qatar is accessible to as many people as possible. The result is a holistic and immersive cultural and educational experience that shares the story of Qatar in an innovative and intergenerational way.
Sahar Saad, Assistant Curator at NMoQ, said: “We appreciate the help and support that Accessible Qatar and Sensory Souk have given our staff and guides. This knowledge and insight will empower them with the skills needed to offer visitors of different abilities an engaging experience. We strive to be an accessible museum, offering assistive technology, multi-sensory features, and mobility aids that ensure all visitors can interact with the history and culture of Qatar. This continuous learning and development further enhance the museum’s responsiveness to all members of Qatar’s community.”
Sensory Souk provides a wide range of therapy tools and toys for children with autism, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and other developmental delays. Initially launched as an online platform in 2017, the company now has a physical store in Al Saad due to demand from the local community. The company also aims to serve the community through education and support — providing parents, educators, and people that work in community venues such as museums with useful information about autism and SPD.
Accessible Qatar is a smartphone application and website, the first of its kind in the region. It provides the disabled community with instant and reliable information about the accessibility of public and touristic locations in Qatar. The app is available for download free of charge on the App Store, Google Play store, and Windows Phone Store.