The following photographs are from one of the interesting assignments I have done till date. It is from the Universally Accessible Park (UAP) project undertaken by KiliKili, an NGO based in Bangalore, along with the help from the city administration, the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP). This NGO is a network of ‘Parents of children with disabilities‘ working to make play spaces accessible to all children. When I got this assignment the network consisted of three or four families. ‘Kilikili’ is a Kannada word which means ‘The wobbling laughter of children‘ and the group Kilikili seems to be living up to its name.
Until recently, Coles Park located near Frazer Town, Bangalore had play equipments which were in unusable conditions. The equipments were either too old or were likely to cause accidents among the children. Also the entries to the park and the pathways to the play area within it, were not ‘disabled children friendly’. Now this place has undergone a transition for good due to the efforts of Kilikili and has been converted into a Universally Accessible Park (UAP). My assignment involved capturing in photographs the story of making Cole’s Park a UAP. After having completed the assignment I realised that I had got a lot more from it than what I had initially expected . The proximity levels I worked with the team during this assignment helped me gain an insight into the working of NGO projects. I got to see the dedication and selfless efforts which people put in for a greater cause. It was because of this hard work, the UAP at Cole’s Park was successfully completed and opened to public on 2nd December 2006, the World Disability day. The outcome of this project has been such that it has made BMP to promise and set aside a budget of twenty lakhs to replicate this project in various other parks across Bangalore.
Having created a UAP is a job which has well begun and at the same a job which is half done. During the assignment I also got to see the kinds of obstacles an NGO has to face everyday. One main area of concern with the NGOs has always been in getting resources for the projects and its no different story here. The primary resources here are funds and volunteers. These concerns did get addressed during the UAP project at Cole’s Park. But after UAP came into existence the Kilikili team is facing new challenges where it has to address this matter again. The new challenge is the task of maintenance of this park. Like most public properties in India the issue of vandalism is a primary concern in the maintenance of this park too.
From my observations of this entire scenario, I see that some of the classical and regressive problems plaguing our country today, are also the obstacles which one has to overcome in this case too. It would be a long story to get into specific details of these obstacles in this blog. But in brief, the invisible division of lines in the minds of our people across age groups, which are due to politics of religion and class, and illiteracy are the regressive problems I am speaking of.
But the brighter side is that all is not beyond repair. A season of creating awareness among the masses about the need to safe guard public places like Cole’s Park and engaging them in activities related to this park would definitely eradicate most of the problems in making this story a success. Enabling a greater co-operation among the people across the spectrum of society would contribute to a great deal in crushing old biases and prejudices. To achieve all this, what finally this place needs is a network of committed volunteers. The volunteers who can contribute some amount of their time to make UAP at Cole’s Park a ‘truly successful project’. Once UAP at Cole’s park reaches to a state where it’s maintenance is a problem free activity then in my honest opinion it is much more than just a job well done by a volunteer. It would mean that the volunteer would have played an important role in the victory of progressive societal activities over regressive age-old prejudices, mistrust and politics which have so far been obstacles in development.
So, as last instalment of my assignment:-) i keep my promise to do my bit in helping them get the resources they need.Below is the official request for resources from Kilikili. If you have it in you to contribute to such a noble cause then go ahead and be part of it. You can also do a great help by ensuring that this request reaches out to larger number of people in Bangalore so that volunteers who are in a position to help them can do so. So please feel free to share the link to this post among your friends,mailing lists, communities. The URL for the permanent link to this post is:
Official request from Kilikili:
Kilikili is also looking for donations of a laptop and a printer. If anyone can help us please do contact Kavitha at 9880742028 or [email protected]. “