Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Kota Surabaya

Surabaya: A Haven of Inclusivity for People with Disabilities

May 13, 2024

Surabaya, Indonesia's vibrant port city, is making remarkable strides in creating a welcoming and supportive environment for people with disabilities. With a range of initiatives and facilities dedicated to promoting inclusivity and accessibility, Surabaya is emerging as a paradise for individuals of all abilities. From inclusive education to infrastructure development, Surabaya City Government is committed to ensure that every resident, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities, can participate fully in society and lead fulfilling lives.

In 2023, Surabaya was home to 6,144 individuals living with various disabilities, encompassing a range of physical, mental, and sensory impairments. Among these disabilities, mental disability was the most prevalent, affecting 69.38 percent of residents with disabilities. Following closely behind was hearing/speech disability, accounting for 10.29 percent of the population with disabilities, while physical disability ranked third at 7.91 percent. Additionally, vision disabilities constituted 4.30 percent of the disabled population, while those with physical and mental disabilities comprised 2.38 percent. Other disabilities accounted for 5.75 percent of the total disabled population. These statistics highlight the diverse needs and challenges faced by individuals with disabilities in Surabaya, underscoring the importance of inclusive policies and support services to ensure their full participation to realize an inclusive city

Disabled population in Surabaya in 2023
Data source: Department of Population and Civil Registration, 2024

An inclusive city for disabilities is one that ensures equal opportunities, access, and participation for individuals with disabilities in all aspects of urban life. In such a city, people with disabilities have access to accessible infrastructure, transportation, public spaces, and services, allowing them to navigate their surroundings independently and comfortably. Surabaya has been making significant strides towards creating such an inclusive environment for individuals with disabilities. The city has implemented various measures, including the development of accessible infrastructure, such as ramps, tactile paving, and accessible public transportation, to improve mobility and accessibility. Additionally, Surabaya promotes inclusive education through the establishment of inclusive schools and support programs, ensuring that children with disabilities have access to quality education and learning opportunities. Furthermore, the city actively engages with disability communities, consulting them in the decision-making process and providing support services tailored to their needs. Development planning dialogues (Musrenbang) in Surabaya always invite disabled groups and give opportunities for them to voice their aspirations for the city’s development. Through these efforts, Surabaya is working towards becoming an inclusive city where individuals with disabilities can live, work, and thrive with dignity and independence.

One of Surabaya's most noteworthy achievements to realize an inclusive city is its extensive network of inclusive schools, which cater to students with diverse needs and abilities. With 55 inclusive elementary schools, 37 inclusive junior high schools, and 2 inclusive kindergartens, Surabaya is paving the way for equal access to education for all children. These schools provide tailored support and accommodations to ensure that students with disabilities receive a quality education and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

In addition to inclusive education, Surabaya has established five disability service centers dedicated to providing support services for students with disabilities. These centers offer a range of services, including academic assistance and counseling, aimed at minimizing the academic gap between disabled and non-disabled students. By addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities, these centers play a crucial role in fostering inclusive learning environments and promoting educational equity.

Furthermore, Surabaya City Mayor, Eri Cahyadi has introduced Rumah Anak Prestasi to provide holistic and integrated development opportunities for special children. Equipped with various facilities to enhance knowledge, health, and creativity, these houses offer a nurturing environment where children with disabilities can thrive and develop their skills to the fullest. With 3 (three) Rumah Anak Prestasi already established, precisely Rumah Anak Prestasi Sonokwijenan, Rumah Anak Prestasi Nginden Semolo and Rumah Anak Prestasi Kedung Cowek as well as two more slated to open in 2024, Surabaya is expanding its support network for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Recognizing the importance of access to disability equipment, Surabaya City Mayor, Cak Eri Cahyadi and The Lead of TP PKK Surabaya provides specialized aids and devices for special people and children. From mobility aids to hearing assistive aids, these aids empower people with disabilities to participate actively in daily activities and pursue their goals with confidence.

Moreover, Surabaya City Government is committed to improve accessibility across the city by developing and providing inclusive infrastructure. This includes parks, pedestrian pathways, public transportation, government buildings, and public facilities designed to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities. By removing physical barriers and ensuring universal access, Surabaya is fostering a more inclusive and equitable society where everyone can fully participate and contribute.

In addition to these initiatives, Surabaya City Government actively engages with schools and families to assist with administrative processes such as obtaining birth certificates for children with disabilities. This hands-on approach reflects the city's commitment to supporting individuals with disabilities at every stage of life and ensuring their rights are upheld.

Overall, Surabaya's efforts to create a paradise for people with disabilities serve as a shining example of inclusive governance and social innovation. By prioritizing inclusivity, accessibility, and support services, Surabaya is building a city where everyone, regardless of their abilities, can thrive, belong, and succeed. As Surabaya continues on its path toward greater inclusivity, it sets a powerful example for cities around the world, demonstrating the transformative impact of compassion, collaboration, and collective action.