On December 3, at 2pm, the opening of an inclusive swing for disabled children will take place at the Yerevan Zoo, with attendance by British Ambassador to Armenia Katherine Leach and Director of Yerevan Zoo Ruben Khachatryan. This day, which is also the International Day of People with Disability, will mark the start of the “Playground for All” campaign.
The inclusive swing has been donated to the Yerevan Zoo by the Armenian British Business Chamber and Rotary Club of Yerevan International.
As the first gift for children with special needs to be placed in the zoo, this event marks the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Asset’s (FPWC) crowdfunding campaign to open the first inclusive playground in Armenia. Placed inside the Yerevan Zoo itself, the “Playground for All” will be a tangible step towards more respect for the 8000 registered disabled children in the country. The campaign will be facilitated through the U.S. based Global Giving online platform through which anyone, anywhere in the world can contribute.
The lack of awareness for their special needs has left many disabled children and their families at the margins of society. A recent study by UNICEF reveals that the segregation of disabled children in Armenia is in many ways linked to the problem the general public still perceives it as impossible to integrate mentally as well as physically handicapped persons in normal life. This playground aims to provide a space for integration. It will promote an inclusive approach on all levels of the society by dismantling societal barriers that have kept these children segregated for years.