Think. Hard. When was the last time you shared the space with a disabled person when on a trip or going to someplace exotic, or any mode of transportation for that matter? Nothing, right?
Ever thought why disabled people find traveling so drab? Apparently, they don’t. It’s just the barriers that keep them from exploring the world on their own. But, that isn’t going to last long because Goa is quickly on the way to becoming disable friendly.
Enable Travels & Their Exciting New Endeavor
A new drive called the Enable Travel, powered by Cox & Kings, looks forward to making travel across India barrier-free for those who are wheelchair-bound, or vision, hearing, or speech-impaired. Currently, the website lists destinations like Goa, Coorg, Kochi, and Jaipur, among 10 others.
All of these have been probed and are recommended by experts, who themselves are disabled. This means that every facet, from trained guides and specialized staff (care-givers, sign language interpreters) to equipment (hiking chairs to visit forts, amphibian wheelchairs to take a dip in the sea) has been taken care of.
Candolim Becomes The First Wheelchair Friendly Beach
Also, the famous Candolim Beach in Goa recently became wheelchair-friendly. UMOJA, the first travel website in India that supports travel plans for the disabled, has collaborated with NGOs ADAPT and Drishti to come up with an initiative to start a beach festival that will enable access for the differently abled.
The festival included water sports like aquatic beach chair, beach bowling, wheelchair cricket, kite flying, sand castle competitions, and wheelchair dancing was also recently organized for the differently abled. Dozens and dozens of wheelchair were signed up for the event.
Disability Rights Association of Goa (DRAG), ADAPT, & international disability rights organization, will be event partners along with Drishti Life Saving Services.
Attracting The Government’s Attention
“We have always believed that every individual has equal right to access public spaces,” said Mr. Yeshwant Holkar, CEO, UMOJA. He said the festival also aims to raise awareness of UMOJA’s online petition to the Goa government to make at least one beach easily accessible, if not all, to the differently abled.
“As India’s leading State in socio-economic development, we have always supported every initiative that endeavours to provide the differently abled their rightful position. The office of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities supports the festival. We hope this event will serve as a model that can be replicated across the State and the country,” said Anuradha Joshi, Goa Commissioner, Disabilities.
A wheelchair user’s guide to Goa was also set up, which covered over 35 hotels, restaurants, and popular tourist attractions. #BeachFest2017 trended heavily during the festival. Hopefully, the government takes notice of this initiative and the successfully conducted festival, and replicates this by fuelling more disable friendly tourist destinations throughout the country.
Image Credits: Google Images
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