The German Social Code – for most non-lawyers a jungle of paragraphs. Sima Surkamp helps people with disabilities find their way through this jungle and become aware of their legal rights with regard to assistance services. How she wants to promote self-determination and social participation and how she rolls otherwise, she tells us on REHACARE.com.
Name: Sima Surkamp Age: 43 City: Düsseldorf, Germany Occupation: Managing Director and personal budget advisor at Assistenzdienst GleichLeben UG Disability: Paraplegia
Sima Surkamp: When I achieve what I set out to do and help people get their rights.
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
Sima Surkamp: Wheelchair, mobile phone, car, traction device – this is how I can get around in a self-determined way.
What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Sima Surkamp: More self-understanding for diversity and then living it. The topic of inclusion, which is currently just an empty phrase, needs to be filled with life!
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
Sima Surkamp: There are so many that I can't name just one. What I can say is: There should be more individual, personalized aids, which are covered by the health insurance companies – and by default without much effort.
Sima Surkamp wants to offer people with disabilities and assistants a job – with her assistance service GleichLeben.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you?
Sima Surkamp: The self-employment I had started. It helped me find like-minded people and work out my path with them.
What can the assistive technology industry learn from the Corona pandemic to make life easier and/or better for people with disabilities in the future?
Sima Surkamp: For me, there is no relation of assistive devices to the Corona pandemic. Poor wheelchair provision, for example, is not related to the pandemic in my opinion. If it is, it is consistently bad.
If nothing was impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Sima Surkamp: No one in particular.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Sima Surkamp: There are so many that I remember fondly. Be it the exhibitor parties, the guests...
What I wanted to say...
Sima Surkamp: I would like to offer people with disabilities a job. But we are also otherwise looking for people who would like to work in assistance themselves. I am happy to advise people with assistance needs. I am happy to receive enquiries and applications.