Fatmir makes travelling, shopping, attending sporting and cultural events, workplaces and all areas of life more accessible for people with disabilities – one partnership and client at a time. He is also a much-appreciated lecturer about disability and accessibility issues, as well as sharing his own story about living a life with a visual impairment. Fatmir is a former captain of the Paralympic Swedish Goalball team, where he was active for about 20 years. Along with his experience as a leader and team member, Fatmir also possesses skills and experience in sales, development and marketing.
Tell us about your professional background!
– I’ve been working at Handiscover Accessibility since January 2021. I have a background in the organizational sphere, my first 10 years in the Parasport Club FIFH with different roles, and also been an Operations Developer at The Swedish Association of the Visually Impaired (SRF). I’ve been holding lectures and courses throughout the years, both sharing my own story and about disability and accessibility in general – also something I focused on in my own company.
– I studied Sports management, marketing and social media management from 2005–2006. I have also completed courses in human rights, disability politics, accessibility, disability, inclusion and equality.
What are your goals and aspirations, work-wise?
– My goal is to make various businesses more aware of accessibility, what it is and its benefits. Accessibility is a long-term investment – but pays off rather quick, actually. I want it to become more mainstream and be more thought of in everyday operations. Accessibility and the right approach lead to excellent service, regardless of peoples’ abilities.
– I want to share a recent experience with you: I was looking for a student gift for my sister, a nice perfume. I entered a beauty shop with my guide dog and white cane. The clerk immediately approached me and told me to tell her if I needed help, and that she was happy to accompany me in the shop. And as she did, she had plenty of time to tell me about all their extras… So, I ended up walking out of that store not only with one gift. She was both empathetic and smart, giving me a great experience and earning more money. People with disabilities should be perceived as a resource and a force to be reckoned with – and they are really like any other customer. It’s wise to work with accessibility to attract their wallets, too. This perspective might not be top of mind today, and I want to change the perceptions and help businesses to reach out.
”People with disabilities should be perceived as a resource and a force to be reckoned with – and they are really like any other customer.”
Tell us a little bit about the lectures you have with Handiscover’s clients.
– It includes the basics of accessibility: What it is and why we need to think about it. Then we dig a bit deeper into the service aspects. How to overcome the accessibility challenges we face – with the human factor? How to solve difficult situations. We also make it a bit customized depending on the industry and company.
What is your personal story?
– I was born in Kosovo and moved to Sweden as a refugee with my family when I was nine. One of the biggest challenges in my life is my blindness as a teenager. I was diagnosed with glaucoma when I was 13 years old and it turned my life upside down. Glaucoma took away my sight, goals, identity and future dreams. It brought me to my knees to the point that I didn’t want to live anymore.
How did you manage to get back from that challenge?
– My salvation was sports. Meeting people like myself and having leaders and adults around me who looked past my visual impairment. Having that environment that really saw me and didn’t look past me was so crucial. The obstacle was me, and they treated me with demands and expectations and I saw my possibilities. The sport gave me a context to really ”be” someone.
– I also went back to Kosovo post-war, and the events there also woke me up from my dark thoughts. I was about 19 years old and decided to stop whining and feel sorry for myself.
– These both occasions were the turning point in my perspective on life.
What, or who inspires you?
– There are many people and things that inspire me. People with goals and selfless objectives in life. People who do everything in their power to help others without requesting anything in return.
Handiscover Accessibility’s platform is a great foundation to make the world more accessible. Read more here
Fatmir held a lecture for the shop owners and management team at Väla. Read more our collaboration with Väla here
Are you interested in booking a lecture with one of our experts at the Handiscover Accessibility Team? Please book a meeting here