Worldwide mobileWOMEN in Stuttgart, Germany

By Amy Saffell

Some of our MobileWOMEN from around the world have shared with us what living life in a wheelchair is like in their country. What you read about the differences or similarities between their stories and life in the United States might surprise you. In this installment, we interviewed Evelin from Stuttgart, Germany. 
mobileWOMAN, Evelin Kissler

Please describe your disability.

Because of a skiing accident in 1995, I am paralyzed on the T7/T8 level. I use my wheelchair all day long. I have problems with my skin due to the very long times a have to sit.

Have you been able to receive, in your mind, adequate medical care in your city? Has the quality of medical care changed since the onset of your disability?

I receive all the medical care that I need. Already at rehabilitation I was prepared optimally for my life as a paraplegic and for life in a wheelchair. I learned everything that I needed for an independent life. Because of the energy-saving policy in health care, I don´t get so many services now, such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy, as in the early years. But the supply of aids and medicines is still very good.

With regard to wheelchairs and durable medical equipment, do you have access to items suitable for your needs?

I get all the special items that I need. Of course, due to the savings in health care, bureaucracy in this area has grown. Applications for rehabilitation and treatments now take longer or can be postponed. 

What are your living arrangements? Do you require assistance? Is your home accessible to you?

I live in a large and spacious ground floor apartment with a small garden. It's all geared to my disability. I have a large bathroom with a lifter. I have a reserved parking space for my car in the underground car park. I have a call for a nursing service.

Do you have a job? Please describe.

Yes, I work full-time at the city council as a clerk in the town planning office. I can use my experience and my problems very well as a wheelchair user here. With new projects, I am often asked for advice. But I want to work only part-time in the near future.

Do you have access to suitable transportation for you to get around your city?

We here in Stuttgart have a very well developed transport network. All the entrances to the stations are accessible. I get along very well. I very rarely use public transport because I prefer using my car.

Do you feel that there is government support of people with disabilities in your country?

Yes there is. They support people with disabilities very much. The integration of people with disabilities in society is a very important aim of every government. Our Minister of Finance himself is a wheelchair user. Thus, every company must provide a certain number of jobs for people with disabilities and also occupy them. Otherwise, they must pay a fine. A change in thinking has taken place here during the last few years. Now people with disabilities are integrated in all areas of life as best as possible. 

Describe what you like to do for fun.

I like to go out with friends and also play a lot of sports. I play table tennis, and I especially love to dance. I also like to watch films in the cinema. I also love to eat at Greek restaurants; I love Greek food! I also love to read and go to Rock´n Roll concerts. I also like traveling and visiting foreign countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, and France.

Describe the attitude in your area regarding people with disabilities.

There is no difference in attitude toward people with disabilities in my country.

Are you looked down upon and discriminated against because of your disability, or are you accepted?

For myself, I can say that I never had been discriminated against because of my Disability. A person in a wheelchair is completely normal. The people are always nice and helpful. I am accepted like I am.

If you are a mobileWOMAN living in a country other than United States, we would love to hear your story and learn what your life is like there. Please contact us at

Are you a reader living outside the US? If so with the hashtag #InternationalAccessibility to let us know how access is where you live!

Columnist Amy Saffell lives in Nashville, TN and works in the music industry. She enjoys spending time with friends, concerts, and volunteering for a local youth wheelchair sports and independence group.


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