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Plans to make Alleppy South India's first disabled friendly beach

Alleppey, a small town located in Kerala is all set to become South India's first disabled-friendly and accessible beach.

Popularly known as Venice of the East, Alleppey is surrounded by plush greens and serene backwaters. Alleppey also boasts of many beaches in and around the town.

On the opening day, people with disabilities were seen taking a dip in the waters of Alleppey beach with the help of volunteers. It was indeed a great sight to watch as access to beaches is something that various disability rights groups have been fighting for in these parts for years.

The I Am for Alleppey Project for disabled people was much discussed by government authorities. The project aims to make Alleppey, which is a world renowned tourist destination, accessible, and disabled-friendly. The beach was made accessible thanks to the combined efforts of the National Health Mission, Palliative Care, the District Tourism Promotion Council, Fire Force, and the Wheelchair Users' Association.

Making a beach accessible and disabled-friendly does not mean that it is only for wheelchair users. Accessibility for a disabled person is all about being able to become independent. Even people with other disabilities must be able to enjoy the beachside. There must be tactile paths from the beach entrance up to waters where blind people can go on their own. Disabled people must also be able to enjoy the waters because that is whole point of having fun at the beach. This new initiative of Kerala government is wonderful. I hope this is a beginning for other states to follow suit. - Anita Iyer Narayanan, Government Accessibility Expert

The Kerala government is not leaving any stone unturned to make sure that disabled people enjoy the beachside thoroughly. There have planned for Braille sign boards, wheelchairs available on request, life guards, medical assistance, accessible rest rooms and wheelchair ramps to make sure that disabled people can look forward to a comfortable visit.

"I plan to go to the beach soon. As far as I have heard, the beach only has a wheelchair ramp now. When you say disabled friendly, it must be accessible for people with all kinds of disabilities and not just for wheelchair users. Earlier, there was no wheelchair ramp from the entrance to the beach. Great to know that they have started off by adding that! There should also be disabled friendly parking because it will be great for people with disabilities who are traveling on their own to the beach", says Unni Maxx, a well known disability rights activist from Kerala.

This new initiative is will truly embark a new journey. It will also open doors for more disabled people to come out and explore the beauty of what the world has to offer.

ALSO READ: Chennai's largest disabled-friendly children's park is open to the public

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