Turkey's Changemakers: Co-Pedal Association overcomes the obstacles
Although official figures are ambiguous, there are approximately 8.5 million persons with disabilities living in Turkey.
Among them, approximately 800,000 individuals are visually impaired. However, the limited number of accessible public spaces prevents them from engaging in physical exercise and socializing.
The Co-Pedal Association provides physical and social rehabilitation for individuals with disabilities and creates companionship among people with and without disabilities through using tandem bikes. The Co-Pedal Association, which started up as a community around 3 years ago, is in touch with nearly 100 individuals with disabilities. The Co-Pedal Association has offices in different parts of Turkey and has 200 volunteers. They offer training and certification programs besides organizing urban and rural cycling tours and races. Moreover, Co-Pedal members are currently preparing for a pioneer bicycle trip from Black Sea to the Caspian, which would be the longest bicycle ride that a visually impaired individual has ever completed.
The Co-Pedal Association has built bridges between individuals with and without disabilities. They enabled experience sharing between individuals without disabilities and individuals with disabilities who face difficulties in terms of socialization and exercising. They have made a huge difference both in the lives of people with and without disabilities who wish to socialize through exercising and in the field of civil society.