During the event - Press photo
CAIRO - 20 March 2022: JICA Egypt Office in cooperation with Helm Organization and JICA Alumni Association organized Sunday an event titled “Towards Accessible to Cities in Egypt and Japan”.
The event was hybrid at Fairmont Nile City hotel and there was online contribution as well. It aimed to define the meaning of accessible cities, showcase innovative practices and innovative policies in both Egypt and Japan regarding various forms of accessibility, such as access to public buildings, urban or rural development, ICT, transport, and tourism.
Helm organization is one of the leading entities in Egypt working for the support and inclusion of PwD’s. Helm is one of the successful stories of JICA support in different ways. As its CEO and co-founders, Ms. Amena El-Saie and Mr. Ramez Maher, are previous JICA KCCP training programs graduates. In addition, Helm is one of the selected companies in the Ninja Business Plan competition in response to COVID-19 that was funded by JICA in 2020.
The third partner in the event was JICA Alumni Association, which is a group of JICA’s Egyptian ex-participants of KCCP that established this association with JICA Egypt in order to use this association for sharing their experiences in Japan in several fields and conducting different activities. JICA Egypt office would like to support connecting JICA ex-participants for playing valued contributions to the Egyptian society.
The event included participation of group of advocators of PwDs inclusion from the government, universities, NGOs, and private sector in addition to virtual participation from Japan in form of speakers and attendees. As one of NGO – JICA Japan Desk activities to connect and share the Japanese experience in Egypt and vice versa; they invited prof. DOBASHI Yoshito, Vice-chairman, Committee for Promoting International Interaction at Japanese Association for an Inclusive Society (JAIS) and Visiting Professor, School of Regional Design, Utsunomiya University, who shared the Japanese side in this regard.
The events started with the opening remarks by OMURA Yoshifumi, Chief Representative JICA Egypt Office, Amena El-Saie and Ramez Maher, Helm Co-Founders, Samiha Saber, JICA Alumni Association’s Secretary General, Dr. Shaza Hany as a representative from Ministry of Social Solidarity on behalf of Ms. Maha Helaly, Minister Advisor for Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Solidarity, Prof. Hany Helal, Former Minister of Higher Education and Secretary General of EJEP Steering Committee, and Mr. Yukutake Tetsutaro, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan.
Then, the main session part, which was fruitful from different aspects and highlighted different stories and challenges related to accessibility of PwDs. The session involved an inspirational talk by Ms. Shaimaa Ibrahim who is a Marketing Consultant and Helm Ambassador about her successful journey and challenges. Passing through Ms. Amena El-Saie, Helm CEO and CO-Founder, telling Helm story and challenges. Then, Mr. KAWAMURA Hiroshi, Vice President, Assistive Technology Development Organization (ATDO) talking about ATDO & JICA DAISY project. Then, Prof. DOBASHI Yoshito showing (virtually) the Japanese experience and activities done in the regard of accessibility to cities in Japan. Ending with Prof. Amr Adly, E-JUST Strategic Planning Coordinator mentioning the universities capabilities potential.
The last part of the event was a panel discussion titled “A New Era of Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities: Towards A Full Accessible Life”. The panelist included Ms. Dina Shehayeb, Founder and Program Director of Architecture and Urban Design, Nile University, Mr. Ramez Maher and Prof. DOBASHI Yoshito. In addition to a recorded video displayed by the end of the discussion for Ms. Heba Iskandar, Orascom Construction Corporate Development Director. Ms. Caroline Maher, the Former Parliament member and Advisory board member at Helm was the moderator for this discussion.