Joy for all children

The one thing that you would definitely find every two streets of Bangalore is a small green cozy park. Bangalore boasts of more than 500 parks in the city. Most of us would have memories attached with one of those parks and the play area there where we spent childhood playing on swings, slides, seesaws, etc. But if you happen to pass by Coles Park in Frazer Town now, you will see a different kind of play area, something like the picture below.

If you thought these are made to make things more fun for children or is the creation of a BBMP engineer who got bored of installing normal swings, watch again; It isn’t that simple, I realized, one of the Saturdays when I was passing by this park. The park was overcrowded with bubbly giggling kids. Another careful look and I realized that most of these children are “special children”, children with disabilities. All credit to the specially designed swings/slides that makes the day for these children giving an opportunity for them to enjoy like any other child could.

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Welcome to the first park specifically modified for “special children”. The swing, as you see in picture, called the bucket gives support to children not having upper body support. The slides have raised sides that can help children who are fearful of heights. The seesaw too, has bucket seats to support special children. These simple modifications to the design of play equipment, not only makes a world of difference to these special children, but they also add to the fun for normal children. Most importantly all children play together, which thanks to this special equipment happens very naturally and organically.

This is effort of one organization called Kilikili. True to their taglines, "Right to inclusive play", and "Breaking barriers through play", they have been working towards making parks more accessible and useful for special children. Along with Kilikili, BBMP has played a major role in making this possible. They have taken the entire responsibility in installing these swings and slides.

Unlike most NGOs who normally function individually and detached from the local government, Kilikili believes in a symbiotic relationship. “If you want to make something sustainable and scalable, the government has to be involved. There are hundreds of parks in Bangalore, and NGOs cannot take care of all of them. Going forward, we want BBMP to install the equipment in all the parks and we want to involve local community to take care of maintaining it”, says Kavita who is one of the people behind Kilikili. “Top officials at BMP have been very supportive and have taken the responsibility to implement this” she adds. This goes to show that a lot can be achieved by NGO-government partnerships. Government possibly can’t do everything, but with NGOs providing useful consultation, things can be made more effective.

Read more about Kilikili and how you can get involved at http://www.kilikili.org.

UNICEF estimates about 6-10 per cent of children in India are born with some kind of disability. And there are very fre NGOs or Government schemes working to make public places more suitable for special children. Kilikili’s efforts will go a long way in filling this gap. Post Coles park, Kilikili along with BBMP is planning to setup similar equipment in Jayanagar and Indira Nagar parks.

As Kavita says, “We are not just an NGO, Kilikili (which means laughter in Kannada) is a movement of parents and volunteers. This is just the beginning, and we hope to see other cities and local communities in India to take up such initiatives, and spread the Kilikili”.

About Rajesh Golani 0 Articles
Rajesh is part of NGO Post - a web portal for information exchange and sharing on the social sector. He also a regular contributor for monthly e-zine Sattva.

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