As part of the European Day of Protest for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the association “Gemeinsam leben und lernen in Europa e.V." (GLL) organized the event “Through the World of Barriers” in Passau, Germany.

In an immersive self-awareness course,  the visitors had the unique opportunity to step into the shoes of people with different disabilities (pwds) and understand their world from a firsthand perspective. At various stations, they could experience using a wheelchair, being blindfolded, wearing a weighted suit, or navigating with eye or head control. This allowed them to quickly and intuitively understand the challenges faced by pwds in everyday life. The stations were supported by volunteers with disabilities, who shared their experiences with the visitors. 

The goal of the event was to raise  awareness about the daily situations that people with disabilities encounter.  

My idea for this event and the self-awareness course is to enable people with and without disabilities to come into contact and talk to each other without being forced to do so. By talking to those affected or in action on the course, they gain a small insight into the world of people with disabilities. This gives everyone empathy and understanding for others. I hope that we can plant a seed so that inclusion can happen automatically. Everyone can learn from each other.

Christian Moritz, Initiator of the event

Below you can find some impressions of the day and a guideline to help you organize similar events.

Living with visual impairments

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to navigate the world without sight? At the interactive stand of the Bavarian association for the blind and visually impaired, visitors engaged in various activities to better understand these challenges.

Participants tried games and everyday tasks while blindfolded, such as tactile memory games, pouring a glass of water, and buttering a sandwich. They also showcased aids used by blind people, including braille displays and a cane obstacle course. Additionally, visitors wore glasses that simulated different visual impairments, like macular degeneration.


Passau is renowned for its charming old town, with narrow alleys and cobblestone streets. However, this picturesque setting can be a barrier for wheelchair users. To raise awareness, the association set up a wheelchair obstacle course. Participants who don’t normally use wheelchairs attempted to navigate various obstacles, simulating the challenges faced daily by wheelchair users.

There are barriers not only on the streets but also in people's minds. Many people feel uncertain about interacting with individuals with disabilities. Thomas Sandleitner, instructor for wheelchair sports,  recommends: "I appreciate it when someone directly asks if I need help. What’s difficult is when someone just pushes me across the street without asking. I don’t push people who are walking too slowly for me..."


There's a saying: 'If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism.' This highlights the fact that autism is a spectrum, and it manifests differently in each individual. 

For many people on the spectrum, sensory processing can be challenging. Their ability to filter sensory input often doesn’t function properly, leading to sensory overload. Certain stimuli, such as strong smells, different textures, or disorganized visual patterns, can be overwhelming and uncomfortable. Sebastian, who is on the spectrum, and Anja, an educator from the regional Autism Network , showed at their stand what the perception of autistic people can be like. 


You want to organise an event like this yourself? Our guidline will give you useful recommendations and inspiring ideas. You can download it here.