In line with the vision of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer, “Another disability policy is possible”, Izmir has put its signature under another exemplary work. The Metropolitan has arranged the regulation of public transportation vehicles to allow the visually impaired to travel with guide dogs. In order to spread the guide dog practice, citizens with visual and hearing impairments were trained in company with the guide dogs Bulut and Kara.
Continuing to work in line with the vision of "building an barrier-free Izmir" of Tunç Soyer, the Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, the Metropolitan Municipality has signed another exemplary work that will facilitate the life of the disabled. A regulation on public transportation vehicles was prepared in order to enable visually impaired citizens to benefit from public transportation with guide dogs that will facilitate their daily life. Following the decision taken for buses for the first time in 2019, a guide dog application was also included in metro, tram and sea transportation.
Training was also given
Leading the way in spreading the use of guide dogs in İzmir, the Metropolitan introduced the application to the representatives and members of the visually and hearing impaired associations in İzmir. The directors and members of the Guide Dog Association in Istanbul, which provides training only in this field in Turkey, introduced the guide dog practice in the Ornekkoy Social Life Campus of the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. Guide Dog and Mobility Trainer Burcu Bora gave information about how guide dogs will facilitate the lives of visually and hearing impaired citizens, and also touched on the training processes of guide dogs.
Speaking at the introductory meeting of the guide dog application, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Social Projects Department Head Anıl Kaçar said, “As İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, we carry out studies that ensure the accessibility of İzmir under the title of disability within the scope of citizenship law. We have started working to implement the guide dog application. We are acting to make life accessible to everyone with the big picture we have drawn.”
Guide dogs will take place in daily life
Mahmut Akkın, Disabled Services Branch Manager of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Social Projects Department, said, “The guide dog practice, which is very common in the world, is brought to our city. kazanwe want to climb. With the leadership of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, we carried out the first of a serious study to include guide dogs in the daily life of our visually impaired people. Today, we introduced the guide dog application to our visually impaired citizens and gave their training. There have been studies that we carried out with our Transportation Department. We have made arrangements in the transportation regulation so that our visually impaired citizens can benefit from public transportation with guide dogs. This application, which we started on buses in 2019, is now valid for all our public transportation vehicles. One of our visually impaired citizens could use public transportation with a guide dog, but with the arrangement we made, we made the application official. We believe that this will set an example for the whole of Turkey. There is a preferential policy drawn by our President to create an accessible city. We are trying to move forward with our colleagues in this direction.”
A very valuable application
Partially visually impaired citizen Mehmet Aktaş also emphasized that the practice would be beneficial and that the society should be ready to accept the visually impaired with their dog in hand. Özge Şahin, a deaf citizen, said, “I liked the project incredibly. I think it is very suitable as I already have dogs and cats. I follow the projects of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality closely. We have friends who are both visually and hearing impaired. Their life is more difficult. I have observed that with guide dogs, they will live a life as a spouse and partner without getting stressed.”
The President of the Guide Dog Association, who is also visually impaired, Av. Nurdeniz Tuncer, her labrodor guide dog Kara, and the association member Kemal Görey Beydağı participated with the golden breed Bulut and explained the practice.
What is a guide dog?
Guide dogs are special dogs that, after a long and comprehensive training, accompany the visually impaired individuals in any environment, allowing safe and independent mobility. These specially trained dogs help visually impaired people increase their mobility and walk around in a comfortable way that can meet their daily needs. The world's first guide dog school opened in 1916. They were bred to guide soldiers who lost their sight in World War I. Today, thousands of dogs are trained through guide dog schools and guide dog associations in many countries.