Digital accessibility is very important to Eva Papst. This is the only way for the blind Viennese to find her way around the Internet without any problems. That is why she has been working against digital barriers for almost 20 years now. Why she would also wish for a robot guide dog and what role she thinks blind people should play in thrillers, she tells us at REHACARE.com.
Name: Eva Papst Age: 62 City: Vienna, Austria Occupation:Pensioner (former head of the printing house and library for the blind in Vienna; before this bank employee; before this court stenographer...) Impairment: I was severely visually impaired from birth and completely blind at the age of about 20. The restrictions associated with this have ultimately brought me to the opportunities and possibilities associated with modern technology, which (can) make my life much easier.
Eva Papst: Good cabaret, comedy, even involuntary one. But there are too many ways to laugh: the smile in nice situations, the loud laughter in happy company, an amused grin... But the real "magic moments" tend to bring tears of joy to my eyes.
What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?
Eva Papst: For years I have been thinking about writing short crime stories in which blind people are not victims but perpetrators. But I do not think that my writing skills are sufficient enough to implement this project in acceptable quality.
Which person has influenced you most? And why?
Eva Papst: At first it was my parents who made me feel loved and accepted. Then it was my teacher who taught me, among other things, that a person deserves and must be challenged and promoted a second chance. After all, my husband, who's put up with me for 33 years. And ultimately, all those people who meet me at eye level.
You have the chance to become the Commissioner for the Disabled in your country. What would you do first?
Eva Papst: I would form a team from the most diverse fields of expertise, which of course must also include disabled people, in order to use the available financial resources in an economically optimal way for as much equality of opportunity as possible in all areas of life.
Eva Papst and her husband like to travel a lot. Even today she still remembers the impressive roar of the Dettifoss waterfall in Iceland.
What is especially near and dear to you?
Eva Papst: The removal of barriers, especially in the digital field. In an accessible online shop I find the right goods easier than in a supermarket, where I can't see the labels. The Internet is an almost indispensable source of information, especially for people with disabilities. That's why I've been involved in this area since the guidelines for accessible web (1999) came into existence.
I would like to be ...
Eva Papst: ...completely independent of a white cane or an escort. I would like to just go out and think for myself without having to concentrate intensively on my surroundings, to find my way between obstacles; free from the worry of bumping into someone, walking against a road sign or getting a dog leash between my legs.
Which question would you like to get answered?
Eva Papst: Why are there autopilots in airplanes, robots in various areas, self-driving subway trains and cars, but (yet?) no robot guide dog? Then I could fulfil my wish for more freedom of movement.
What else I wanted to say...
Eva Papst: Living with a disability is - admittedly - sometimes strenuous and with restrictions. But I have received a lot of support in my life and hope to be able to pass some of it on to my fellow human beings within the scope of my possibilities.