Fundraiser Launched to Help Disabled Young Girl in Greece

Disabled Girl in Greece
Spyridoula Daravigka launched an appeal that would help her mobility in Athens. Photo provided.

14-year-old Spyridoula Daravigka is a disabled student in Athens, Greece looking for help to improve her mobility in a city not designed for people in wheelchairs.

She has spinal muscular atrophy type 2 (SMA 2), a rare genetic disease that affects all her muscles. She uses a power wheelchair consistently.

“I do not have any independence in my daily life. Getting out of my house has become very hard because my family’s car does not have a ramp,” she told Greek Reporter.

“This means that whenever I need to go. my parents have to give me a lift and move my wheelchair in and out of the car which as you can imagine, is very hard and dysfunctional.”

Those familiar with the traffic chaos in the Greek capital know that cars are often parked on the pavements, and moving by a power wheelchair is extremely difficult. “My school has a ramp but there are so many cars parked outside my school that getting there with a wheelchair is close to impossible some days,” Spyridoula says.

Getting to school is often dangerous as she has to move her wheelchair onto the road as pavements are broken down or filled with parked cars.

She aims to help her family buy a vehicle accessible to the disabled. The cost of acquiring such a car is around €30,000 which her family cannot afford.

“I decided to start this fundraiser to raise money to buy a vehicle that has a ramp and therefore is easy to use.”

Her appeal has raised over €3,000 until Tuesday. You can contribute to the fundraising campaign by following the link.

No state help for the disabled girl in Greece

Her mother, Olympia Kostaki, tells Greek Reporter that Spyridoula’s movements are done exclusively with an electric wheelchair, such as going to school, to physical therapy, to the doctors who attend her, and also to extracurricular activities.

“Her accessibility to all of these duties has been reduced, as she needs a specialized car with a ramp to get her wheelchair up and down.”

She adds that there is no state subsidy for buying a car tailor-made for the disabled. “The government does not fund any of the cost, although it offers discounts on circulation taxes and toll post payments.”

Life for the disabled in Greece a constant struggle

Disabled people in Greece face the challenge that the country was not designed for people in wheelchairs. Even before uneven streets and steps were created, the topography of the country was rocky and mountainous.

Although the country has made great strides in disabled persons’ ease of movement and access since the 2004 Athens Olympics, huge challenges remain to be addressed.

Getting around Athens in a wheelchair can be challenging because of numerous areas with cobblestones or hills. Additionally, many parts of Athens have broken concrete on curbs and in the sidewalk ramps at street intersections.

Frangiskos Levantis, an Athens-based property developer who has been in a wheelchair since he was 29, recently told Greek Reporter about the everyday challenges he faces.

“If I have to meet with a client outside of my office in a public or private space requires a Google Maps search to predict disabled parking availability, ramps for entry into the venue, etc.”

The tourist attractions in Athens are somewhat spread out, and disabled tourists may want to take taxis between locations. This is particularly true when visiting the National Archaeological Museum located on the north side of the city.

On a positive note, disabled tourists will find that the metro system is perhaps the most accessible in all of Europe, with nearly all stations having elevators down to the platforms.

Related: Life for the Disabled in Greece a Constant Struggle

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