Small touches that make puja pandals accessible for people with disabilities
Ganesh Chaturthi is here and pooja pandals are being erected to welcome Lord Ganesh on 13 September. This is a time of the year that is dedicated to festivities, worship, tradition and culture.
The pandals are designed and made to look unique and beautiful but little or no attention is given to the accessibility aspect. This makes it hard for people with disabilities, especially physical disabilities, to enjoy the season like everyone else.
Being independent and that too with dignity is a basic right which should be provided automatically and not when demanded. A society is truly inclusive when everyone can be a part of anything and everything. Sameer Garg, Founder & CEO Billionables
Just a few small changes are needed to make a pandal accessible:
• The venue needs to be have an accessible entrance. A simple ramp arrangement can be added to the front if there are stairs near the entrance.
• An entrance that is wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair user or someone who uses crutches.
• Signage in Braille for visually impaired people.
• Some guides assigned for visitors with disabilities. This can make the experience much richer for people who are disabled. Having someone describe the decorations would make the visit that much better for people who are visually impaired.
• Making clear announcements and keeping the noise level low can make it easier for blind visitors to experience the activities around them.
Make sure the venue is safe and clean for everyone.
An accessible venue is an amazing idea. An inclusive place with tactile, braille description can make the festivities truly inclusive for people with visual impairments. Santosh Salian, Executive Committee, Blind Graduates Forum of India, BGFI
So, this season let us promise to take a few steps forward and make our pandals accessible for people with disabilities. Ganesh Chaturthi is just the start. Ahead lies Durga Puja and many other festivals. Be considerate and creative, and aim to build an inclusive space.