Petra Wontorra - That's how she rolls


For Petra Wontorra one thing is very important: Germany needs a good Federal Participation Law and has to destroy barriers, which are in many heads. Every human being should be able to equally take part in all areas of life. Which questions she would like to get an answer to and what kind of role a yoghurt plays in this context, she tells us on

Image: Petra Wontorra sits in front of a table; Copyright: Tom Figiel

© Tom Figiel

Name: Petra Wontorra
Age: 57
City: North Germany
Occupation: Management assistant in advertising, State Commissioner for people with disabilities in Lower Saxony (a state of Germany)
Impairment: Disability political commitment, works as State Commissioner for people with disabilities in Lower Saxony and is a power limited wheelchair driver herself
More about Petra Wontorra at (only in German):
When did you last laugh heartily and what about?

Petra Wontorra:
When I was dancing and having a lot of fun — how I twirled with my wheelchair at the dancefloor. Every week I will have a lot of fun again and laugh heartily.

What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?

Petra Wontorra: 
I have always wanted to go on a ride with a balloon. Or doing a parachute jump. But I don’t know whether I would really dare to jump or not.

Which person has influenced you most?

Petra Wontorra: A lot of different people inspire me. Of course my deceased husband. He went through thick and thin with me. He always supported me with my disability. I’m also proud of my children, they have a positive influence in my life. And also longtime friendships which help me to be strong and motivated.

Then there are also other people, who accompany me during a part of my way. It can be real meetings or artists like Frieda Kahlo, or a book or a movie. I get new ideas from all this – in order to be able to use them for my way.

You have the chance to become the German Federal Commissioner for the Disabled. What would you do first?

Petra Wontorra: 
I would summon Mr. Schäuble (German politician and wheelchair driver) and all members of the German parliament to do all they can to make sure that the so called Federal Participation Law will be a good one. We really need true participation. And they also have to fight against geographic unequality. So Germany – please do your job!

Image: Petra Wontorra dances with a man; Copyright: private

Petra Wontorra thinks: "We all have the same rights. Also people with disabilities. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reinforced their rights. So the full equal participation should be possible for every people in all areas of life"; ©private

Your life is made into a film: Who would represent you?

Petra Wontorra: Caroline Peters, although we look very different. In her soap role she uncovers everything with humoristic elements. I’m sure she could do it in a wonderful relaxed manner.

I would like to be ...

Petra Wontorra:
 In my dreams I can do and be almost everything. That’s why I hold on to my dreams. Someone told me that children are lucky because they can dream about what they want to be in the future – may it be an astronaut, a model, a teacher or a dancer. The possibilities abate from year to year. I cannot accept that, so in my dreams I’m a human with all possibilities.

Which questions would you like answered the most?

Petra Wontorra: Don’t you think that a blind person also wants to eat a yoghurt – at least in advertising – like other people? Isn’t it much better to describe where barriers exist instead of marking accessibility? Why is so much money invested in checking applications instead of giving it to people with disabilities?

What I finally want to say...

Petra Wontorra: I wish that people with disabilities are not only represented as heroes or victims in public. They are as diverse as all the other people as well.