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People with disabilities in Bengaluru get a weekend getaway to the Kochi Biennale

Kochi is hosting one of the biggest art festivals in the world, the Kochi Muziris Biennale. Artists from across the world are in Kochi to showcase their art and witness many more. Since its grand opening in December, Biennale venues across Kochi are hosting hundreds of people every day. Smileys, an NGO based in Bengaluru, are gearing up to host a two-day programme for people with disabilities who want to check out the Biennale. Almost 13 people along with five volunteers will be heading to Biennale venues on 2 and 3 February


Vishnu Soman, founder of Smiley's says more people are welcome to join the trip.

Kochi Muziris Biennale is much talked about across India. People in Bengaluru were discussing about it and I know a lot of people who attended it. There were many disabled people who wanted to check it out. But they could not because of the difficulties of going all the way to Kochi from Bengaluru That is why we thought why not we do something. We are more than glad if more disabled people from around Kochi wants to join us. -Vishnu Soman, Founder, Smileys

If this trip is successful, then Vishnu and his team plan to host another one in March, before the Biennale closes. Smileys as an NGO want to give importance to cultural events. A trip to the Biennale venue is one of their ways of promoting culture. Vishnu and his team hopes to do a great job at it. Since there is a lot of demand and curiosity for Muziris Biennale, the team hopes the trip will be an eye opener. Visually impaired people will be explained the art works in detail by the volunteers.

Priyanka Pal, who walks with the aid of crutches, visited the Biennale venue this year and while accessibility features are not fully up to the mark, she says things have improved.

"I use crutches and I manage to climb stairs though it takes time, so it was OK. But to go across places, I needed a wheelchair that they provided me with. I must say that they have made attempts to make the venues accessible this year for people with locomotor disabilities. It is still not accessible for visually impaired or deaf people since there are no Braille signage or sign language interpreters. Wheelchairs are not accessible in every rooms because the breadth of the doors is small", says Pal.

ALSO READ: Smileys India bats for inclusion through art

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