Alstom’s charitable arm, the Alstom Foundation, has partnered with disability services and support group Instituto Jô Clemente to deliver virtual reality (VR) education in São Paulo, Brazil. 

The “Virtual Reality for Inclusion” partnership aims to improve access to rail and metro services for people with learning disabilities, cognitive conditions and autism spectrum disorder. The program is based on improving resilience and self-confidence by allowing people to explore simulated scenarios and learn how to overcome physical or social challenges. 

The partners described the course as giving the tools for people to “develop skills to navigate a world that isn’t always designed for them.” 

“The project enhances safety by allowing people with Intellectual Disability and Autism to familiarize themselves with complex urban environments in a controlled, virtual setting. The main goal is to encourage people who we [assist] through [our] Professional Inclusion service. This is going to prepare 900 people for real world and empower them, so that they feel comfortable and can navigate the city,” explained Daniela Mendes, CEO at Instituto Jô Clemente (IJC).

Along with the international rail and rolling stock company’s Foundation and the local institute, the course is supported by the Interdisciplinary Center for Interactive Technologies at the University of São Paulo. 

The VR course will consist of modules covering train routes and maps; boarding and alighting trains; visual and auditory communication tools, along with supported VR sessions. 

“Access to mobility is one of the four axis of work addressed by the Alstom Foundation. Supporting this project is a source of pride, as in addition to meeting this purpose, it is also aligned with one of Alstom’s values, which is inclusion”, said Anne-Cecile Barbier, Corporate Social Responsibility director & Alstom Foundation general secretary.