Autonomy and Jeep on the Salt Road for the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”

Set up in 1981 – the international year of disabled persons – the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” is celebrated all over the world on 3 December. Since 1993, December 3rd is also the “European Day of Persons with Disabilities”, following the will of the European Commission, in agreement with the United Nations.
For over twenty years, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has paid close attention to the issues of disabled people’s mobility, and enthusiastically joined the project several years ago. Autonomy is the programme designed to provide answers to the needs of customers with reduced motor, sensory or cognitive abilities (and to their caregivers) to help them use cars and secure their freedom of movement.

On the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”, thanks to Autonomy and Jeep Off Road – an initiative of FCA, a brand renowned worldwide for producing cars that are not only perfect off-road vehicles, but also four-wheel drive emotions and a symbol of absolute freedom of movement – several young people with disabilities were able to experience a great adventure on the unpaved roads between Piedmont, Liguria and France, along the so-called “Via del Sale” (Salt Road), on board of five cars (a Renegade Trailhawk, a Wrangler Unlimited Black Edition, a Wrangler Unlimited Sahara and two Wrangler Unlimited). In the past, this route was travelled by shepherds, pilgrims, muleteers, traders and travellers, who set out from Ponente Ligure and nearby Provence to reach Piedmont and Northern Europe through the Alpine passes, and start a dense network of trade exchanges. The Salt Road today is a cultural trail (there are many churches and other points of interest) and an outdoor tourist route with many opportunities for trekking, MTB and, of course, off-roading.

In the 2017 edition, the Jeep Off Road confirmed the tested formula it used in the past: three days off the road with two nights in a tent (this year, one night on the Sestriere mountains and one along the Salt Road), involving three young boys on wheelchair: Lodovico and his mum Clelia, Federico and Ivan. Mirafiori Motor Village, Ferrino (for technical equipment) and Freewhite sport for the disabled (for the organization) were partners in this initiative.
We posted on Jeep’s social pages and YouTube channel the “Jeep Off Road – Salt Road 2017” video, which narrates this wonderful experience through touching images and the exciting comments of the youngsters.
The words of the three young protagonists reveal the feelings of those who have seen their lives change in an instant, after an accident, or those for whom a disease has meant a radical change of habits. Three strong personalities, who faced misfortune without losing the will to live their own lives in a way that – though different from the past – is no less rewarding.
For each different disability, and mobility need, there is Autonomy, with its full range of cars or commercial vehicles from the FCA Group brands: Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Jeep and Fiat Professional. Furthermore, Autonomy brings a number of services that provide practical help for any problem linked to driving a car adapted to the possibilities of disabled drivers. At any of the 19 mobility centres scattered around Italy (Ancona, Bolzano, Budrio, Catania, Cerignola, Cuneo, Florence, Latina, Milan, Padua, Pietra Ligure, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Rome, Salerno, Terni, Turin, Treviso and Udine), Autonomy customers can test their motor abilities with special simulators, they can learn to trust their modified vehicles and they can also consult doctors, physiotherapists and operators of the centres.

The Jeep Off Road project, therefore, fully supports the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”. In addition to raising awareness on matters related to disability, the day wants to draw attention to the advantages of an inclusive society which is accessible for everyone, by encouraging public administrations, civil society, academic institutions and the private sector to work together with the organizations of people with disabilities to organize events and activities that celebrate this day.
Among the many objectives, the promotion of more and better knowledge of the issues of disability. As well as promoting awareness, the project also supports the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in every domain of life, and the rejection of any type of discrimination and violence. Finally, we should not forget that this day urges us to search for solutions to improve inclusion of disabled people into society.

The “Jeep Off Road – Salt Road 2017” video is available on FCA’s Press website, on Jeep’s YouTube channels (https://youtu.be/wsUiXVvU7IY and https://youtu.be/W_UEHLRddUg), and Facebook pages (https://www.facebook.com/JeepOlllllllOpeople/videos/1514445871937829/ and https://www.facebook.com/JeepItalia/videos/1466511660134057/)

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