Teenagers from the Halifax and Bedford areas were addressing human rights issues on Saturday by building accessibility ramps for small businesses.

The young people, working through the social enterprise Future Roots, were paid minimum wage to work on the ramps, along with other projects. It was all a part of the International Human Rights Day.

“It’s like life experience,” said Future Roots employee Ashton Lepage. “It’s things that could come in handy down the road.”

Future Roots got underway about a year and a half ago.

“We recognize that there's a lot of young people who are eager and want to work before age 16, but may not have the opportunity," said Future Roots co-founder Derico Symonds.

The goal is to create work experience and improve accessibility issues in downtown Halifax.

"I've been involved in helping get this started with a couple of friends who are disabled,” said disability advocate Gerry Post. “We contacted the mayor's office and he was very supportive, and then the whole thing sort of grew from there."

Mayor Mike Savage acknowledges something had to be done

"We have old buildings, we're in a hilly city,” said Savage. “It's not just mobility issues that we have. Visual and hearing, and lots of different things we're working on."

Downtown Halifax’s Business Commission has also become involved.

“This year we're working with disability advocates Gus Read and Jerry Post, as well as HRM waterfront development, Halifax Millwrights Future Workshop and Future Roots,” said Kuda Ndadzungira of the commission.

The ramps generally go to smaller businesses that don’t have the employee, time or money to build them on their own.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw.