For people with reduced mobility, leaving home can become an expedition into the unknown. If they are not aware of certain information about their surroundings, nothing guarantees them that once they arrive at their destination, they will be able to access it. Bruno Mahfuz finds this situation unacceptable in the digital age. That's why he created Guiaderodas, an application in which the users can report the level of accessibility of the places they visit so that this information is available to the rest of the community. For this initiative, Mahfuz has been selected by MIT Technology Review among the Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2018.
When he was 17 years old, an accident left him bound to a wheelchair, which made it very difficult for him to live a normal life. All the years that Mahfuz has been using a wheelchair have convinced him that accessibility is not only an issue that affects people with disabilities. "Parents carrying babies in strollers, pregnant women, the elderly, those who had suffered an injury... accessibility makes life more comfortable for everyone," the young Brazilian says. In fact, he states that 65% of the users of Guiaderodas do not suffer any type of impairment.
Guiaderodas offers a list of nearby places based on the location and categories previously chosen by the user, as well as the venue's accessibility level, which is evaluated by other users. Having this information in advance allows people to have greater predictability when looking for places to go.
After operating for two years, the application has collected information about places in more than 900 cities in 56 countries, and it was chosen as the best initiative for inclusion and empowerment at the World Summit Awards organized by the United Nations. However, its creator believes that society should stop looking at accessibility as a problem that only affects a minority, and it should start seeing it as something that improves everyone’s life. Mahfuz states: "My goal is for the company to eventually disappear, hoping that one day there will no longer be a need for this service."
The partner, senior adviser for Finances and Investment strategies and angel investor at Calligram, Paloma Cabello, who is also a jury member of Innovators Under 35 Latin America in 2018, considers Guiaderodas to be "excellent" and to offer "an innovative approach to an old problem, with a high and sustainable impact."