Kozhikode opens park for disabled kids, a Kerala first
After Chennai, the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation in Kerala has opened an exclusive park for disabled children at the Mananchira Square in the city.
The park has been built at the popular Ansari Literary Park in partnership with ESAF as part of the United Nations Habitat for the city corporation. It has got a big thumbs up from members of the disabled community, activists and NGOs.
Prajith Jaipal, a disability rights activist in Kozhikode, who recently visited the United States to attend an accessibility expo, says this is a major step towards inclusion.
I believe inclusion must start off from children. Hence, places like schools and parks are the ideal places to begin with. More than infrastructural changes, people's attitudes towards disabilities must change. Nothing like catching them at a young age. I appreciate the efforts taken by Kozhikode Corporation and ESAF in introducing this. Authorities must also ensure that there are facilities like accessible washrooms with ramps so that children can spend more time at the parks. -Prajith Jaipal, Activist
Merry go rounds, swings, seesaws and play houses for disabled children and a sensory wall for children who are visually impaired are some of the major attractions at the park.
Many parents have welcomed the move. , mother to a teenager with muscular dystrophy, says her son suffered due to lack of access to such parks as a child.
"When my son was a child, we used to take him to parks but he never got the chance to get onto anything because they were not accessible. So he used to sit in the car outside the parks and watch other kids play. I knew that he longed to go there and play along with them. He has been on a wheelchair since the last few years and even now we take him to check out parks once in a while. This is a great step to inclusion", says Kumari.
Rs eight lakh has been spent on the equipment here and children can visit from morning till 7 pm. With summer vacations round the corner, disabled children can have a novel experience playing and indulging with peers at this new park at Kozhikode.