Dismantling barriers – with his online portal Companion2Go entrepreneur Zacharias Wittmann wants to connect people with and without disabilities.
Zacharias Wittman has founded Companion2Go, because he wants to give people living with disabilities more freedom. Cornelia Weber tells his story.
“People living with physical disabilities and those without are no different when it comes to their interests. The biggest difference is that people with disabilities are limited in terms of their flexibility and autonomy because many event venues and means of transport are not fully accessible. So those confined to a wheelchair, like me, often have to rely on a companion when travelling or attending events. My severe disability card includes a "B" for "Begleitperson" (accompanying person), who helps me with simple things and therefore can travel or attend an event with me for free. This is where I got the idea for Companion2Go.
With my team, I am developing an online website that connects people with and without disabilities, so that together they can go to a concert of their favourite band, or travel by train for example. This gives people living with disabilities more freedom and autonomy. We are taking part in KfW Stiftung's AndersGründer-Programme, an incubator for social start-ups, and work in the Social Impact Lab in Frankfurt. In June, we won the Special Impact Award 2017 for AndersGründer, and thanks to the prize money we were able to take our website online.
Spending time with someone you don't know takes courage on both sides. For many people living with disabilities this means stepping out of their comfort zone and trusting a stranger. The people who accompany those with disabilities enjoy the new experiences. Both learn to develop an awareness for the other. And last but not least, common interests and goals bring people together – this way there's always something good to talk about.“
Published on KfW Stories: Tuesday, 28 November 2017
The described project contributes to the following United Nationsʼ Sustainable Development Goals
Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Non-existent or dilapidated infrastructure hinders economic efficiency and thus engenders poverty. When building infrastructure, the focus should be on sustainability, for example, by promoting environmentally-friendly means of transport. Factories and industrial facilities should also ensure that production is in line with ecological aspects to avoid unnecessary environmental pollution.
All United Nations member states adopted the 2030 Agenda in 2015. At its heart is a list of 17 goals for sustainable development, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our world should become a place where people are able to live in peace with each other in ways that are ecologically compatible, socially just, and economically effective.