Accessibility November 25, 2020
Kerala-based ‘Kombans’ wants to break barriers & prove travelling can be fun for disabled people
‘Kombans’, a group of wheelchair users based at Malappuram in Kerala travels to different places in their three-wheelers to prove that people with mobility issues can also get outdoors and do things that their heart says. Their recent one-day-trip to Alleppy was one to remember, agrees all the team members.
Who says people with mobility issues cannot travel? Kerala-based group of wheelchair users who call themselves ‘Kombans’ prove that travelling is not impossible for people with disabilities. Based in Malappuram, a small town in Kerala, ‘Kombans’ have done numerous trips not just across Kerala but outside the state too. Last Saturday, they made a trip to Alleppy, the most lush, greenest city in Kerala with serene backwaters and paddy fields. The team also did a houseboat ride which many wheelchair users think is impossible due to accessibility issues. Team ‘Kombans’ talks about their one-day trip.
‘Kombans’, breaking barriers
‘Kombans’ was started four years back by a group of wheelchair users. Badaruzaman, one of the founders says, “Many wheelchair users think that they are supposed to be confined inside their homes, that they cannot get out. We wanted to prove them wrong and show how to do it”.
All of them tie wheelchairs to their scooters and travel along with the group. So though they are independent, they know they have the security of others to help them.
Eleven wheelchair users and three caretakers travelled to Alleppy on 21 November. They started their journey in the morning and returned back to Malappuram by evening, which is almost four hours away from their destination.
‘Kombans’ took a houseboat tour in Alleppy, visited the famous Kuttanad, Punnamada and Vembanad lakes. All the team members brim with excitement and happiness as they talk about the trip.
Need for accessible spaces
Rahul, a wheelchair user, met with an accident ten years back due to which his spinal cord was injured. This youngster who always loved travelling aspired to travel across the world. He thought he would never be able to do it since he was on a wheelchair, but thanks to ‘Kombans’, his dreams are getting realized.
“We need more accessible spaces. At Alleppy, we had a great fun one-day tip. I’am looking forward for more such memorable ones”, he says.
Badaruzaman states that lack of accessible spaces and the government not doing anything about it is a hindrance. “People don’t feel the need for wheelchair users to get out. In fact, they think we don’t step outdoors. We want to travel to many places”, he says adding that Hyderabad is their next destination. “We came to know that most places in the city are closed due to Covid crisis. So we plan to visit Hyderabad and their film city soon, hopefully beginning of next year”, says Badaruzaman.
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