April 1, 2023

«With the help of BRO, I can do my job as a politician»

Islam’s everyday work is full of hurdles and obstacles, which the wheelchair user can only overcome with his BRO. However, these hurdles are not always visible. This makes it even more difficult to eliminate them.


Politician, social entrepreneur, family man and wheelchair user

Islam Alijaj is a local councillor in the city of Zurich, a social entrepreneur, and a father. He was born with cerebral palsy and is dependent on a wheelchair. He can stand and also walk a few steps, but it takes him a lot of effort. «I don’t need a wheelchair at home, but as soon as I leave the house, I take my BRO and also go to work with it,» says Islam. He also travels a lot by public transport as he has meetings all over the city. That’s why an assistive device is required for Islam to be able to go to work.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe the symptoms associated with early childhood damage to the developing brain. The impairments a person experiences, depend on the affected areas of the brain. Symptoms range from spasticity and uncontrolled movements to poor motor skills or joint deformities.

(Quelle: https://www.css.ch/en/private-customers/my-health/health-glossary/conditions/infantile-cerebral-palsy.html)

Barriers are everywhere

But even when he is out and about with an assistive device, there are barriers everywhere for Islam: «I actually encounter obstacles and hurdles everywhere in everyday life, but most of all on public transport. These include steps, for example – often single steps and not just long stairs.» His assistant Fabienne also notices the obstacles: «When I’m out and about with Islam, we have to plan a lot more. For example, we can’t just take the next best tram if it’s not wheelchair accessible.» But there are not only obstacles on the way to work, but also at the workplace itself: «Sometimes the rooms are very narrow, which makes it difficult for me to access them with a wheelchair – especially if the desks are very close together. And I don’t always want to just sit on the sidelines». Islam tells of things that most pedestrians don’t even notice: «Many people are not aware of such obstacles because they never travel with a wheelchair. I therefore have to work to remove them myself.»

Invisible obstacles

In addition to visible obstacles, there are also invisible ones: «The most annoying obstacle for me is the one in people’s minds,» says Islam. «One symptom of my cerebral palsy is that I find it difficult to speak. This is because I cannot control my muscles the way I want, including my tongue. Because of my speech impediment, I am very quickly labelled as stupid.» It is invisible hurdles like these that have prevented Islam from realising his potential, especially in the past. Many then speak to his assistant instead of directly to him. «But it is also the legal hurdles that make it very difficult for me to go about my daily work. For example, only part of the assistance hours, which I need for my work as a local councillor, are paid by insurance.»

With the help of BRO, I can do my job as a politician much better because I can talk to people at eye level. This is a real added value.
Islam A.
Cerebral Palsy

BRO, the perfect companion

Many of Islam’s hurdles can be overcome with BRO: «BRO supports me especially in my professional life. For example, I can speak at eye level, which is a real added value. Or it helps me when I have to climb stairs because there is no lift. Just recently we had a commission meeting in a building that was only accessible by stairs and had no lift inside either. Without BRO, I would not have been able to attend that meeting.» His work colleagues also perceive him differently: «Since I have BRO, I am cooler and am also perceived as more innovative. I’m often told that I’m driving the Tesla among wheelchairs.» What Islam particularly likes about BRO is that it is software-based and new functions can be added via updates.

Technical innovations and social changes

Islam has big plans and wants to stand up for all those who are so often forgotten in politics: «I want to be in the National Council this year so that I can make progress in disability policy. All people with disabilities should get the support they need.» He is sending the right signal with his electric wheelchair: «BRO is ideal for me because it is innovative and shows the direction we need to take as a society. For an inclusive society, there has to be a rethinking in people’s minds, but it also needs technical developments. BRO is the perfect example of that.»

With BRO #backtowork.

Do you also want to take on your everyday working life without restrictions? Then arrange a non-binding test drive now.