Hannah Chou & Momo Huang

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Co-laureates 2015 for Asia-Pacific

Hannah Chou & Momo Huang

OurCityLove Social Enterprise, TAIWAN
Hires people with disabilities to collect and share information about accessible restaurants via mobile technology.
Although Hannah Chou and Momo Huang do not have any disabilities, the two women have been confronted with the issue of poor accessibility in restaurants through the experience of friends. Hannah and Momo, who both live in Taipei, launched two mobile applications – one to gather information about disability-friendly restaurants and the other to present the data to the public.

“The Friendly Restaurant Taipei App allows users to find accessible and friendly restaurants any time, any place, in 10 seconds”
“With over half a million downloads, we have served millions of people, including wheelchair users, pregnant women, old people, people who are injured, those with hearing or visual impairment, and their friends and family.”
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Lack of accessibility
Finding a place to eat where disabilities are taken into account can be difficult in Taiwan, as it is in many other developed and developing countries. Hannah and Momo faced this situation a few years ago. “We were trying to find a restaurant to have afternoon tea with a few lady friends in wheelchairs, but after walking around for 30 minutes, we could not find any.” People with impairments as well as the elderly have to call ahead of time to find a place which provides access. Sometimes they simply stop going out.
Finding the closest accessible place
OurCityLove Social Enterprise hires and trains disabled people, who are called “friendly surveyors”, to collect information about restaurants and share their personal dining experience. The Friendly Restaurant Survey App is specifically designed for people with low vision and manual dexterity difficulties. The data collected is then shared to the general public through a second mobile app, the Friendly Restaurant Taipei App. Users can search by 8 categories – such as “visual and hearing assistance”, “wheelchair”, “stroller” or “pregnant and cane” – for the closest place with the required accessibility. “The Friendly Restaurant Taipei App allows users to find accessible and friendly restaurants any time, any place, in 10 seconds”, says Hannah.
“Our logo represents three persons. Doesn’t that remind you of the Three Musketeers? That’s exactly our spirit – One for all and all for one!”
Social participation
With OurCityLove Social Enterprise, Hannah and Momo aim to empower their team by increasing employment prospects for disabled workers. “Social participation and inclusion is a very important part of our core values”, says Hannah. Besides being surveyors, the 108 employees have an advisory role and provide consulting services to restaurants on how to improve their environment. OurCityLove Social Enterprise, along with the Taipei City Government, delivers a certificate to managers who complete a 6-hour training session. Hannah explains, “During lunch time, the trainees wear 8-month pregnant suits or glasses that simulate various visual impairment or use a wheelchair. Afterwards they reflect on their lunch experiences and suggest improvement for their restaurants.”
The used to be people who needed help but now they are the ones helping others!