By Peter Muiruri
While most of us have no problem accessing the many recreational facilities in Kenya, it presents a challenge to many people living with disabilities. Such facilities include movie theatres, spectator seating in sports centres, zoos, some parts of parks and nature walks.
Globally acceptable standards require that these facilities have a level floor for wheelchair users. In movie theatres, for example, these areas should be positioned at row ends and scattered on different levels so as to have a variety of seating and viewing locations for persons with disabilities.
In addition, such halls should have some seats with removable or flip-up armrests again at row ends to accommodate a wheelchair user or a person with limited mobility.
Wheelchair users too, need to manoeuvre around zoos and nature walks with ease. The Nairobi Safari Walk and the Animal Orphanage are good examples of recreational facilities that have put elaborate measures to accommodate persons living with disabilities.
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The Safari Walk’s design incorporates wide walkways that accommodate wheelchair users and others with disabilities. Where such walkways are raised from the ground, proper security railing is in place to prevent serious falls.
The script is the same at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage. The management has put in place a spare wheelchair should the need arise. In both institutions, well-trained guides are usually at hand to give a helping to visitors with disabilities.
As a word of caution, it is advisable for people with disabilities and their minders to be in close proximity to motorised transport while visiting nature trails in case of unexpected dangers.