Education Community - Varna
Potential partners: Centers for support and work with children with disabilities and specialists on children development and different disabilities
Children with physical disabilities don’t have a place to play. They and their families are often isolated because most of the urban environment is not adapted to their needs. We join forces with children and citizens, education institutions and local government to create an inclusive playground for all children to play and all families to meet. Thus we create opportunities for diversity acceptance and enrichment, developing love for nature, a community to take future measures for the problem.
Varna city, Bulgaria
The low civic cohesion is very visible when it comes to problems related to disabled people. The urban environment is not adapted well enough to their needs. Besides few therapy centres, there isn’t a fully accessible place for disabled children to play with other children in our city.
Xenophobia and avoidance of children with disabilities is a mass reaction in our community. There is the understanding that communicating with “different” children would slow down or even worsen the development of "normal" children. Therefore, their families often remain isolated, misunderstood and unaccepted.
Massive approach towards children is that they need to fit in an environment that is already created instead of creating an environment that supports their needs and individualities.
We want to make this space together with and for all children and families in the region. Our key target groups are all families with children in Varna - 70500 children (up to 15 years), including 2400 children with proven disabilities and many with unproven disabilities.
Other key targets are all citizens who recognize our cause for children inclusion as their own including parents, education specialists, child care specialists, social workers etc.
Phase 1: Planning and Preparation:
Legal Compliance such as Standard EN 1176 and others
Hiring the team to work on the project and task distribution
Permission from and partnership with municipality
Budgeting and suppliers research
Consultations with child care specialists and discussion with the local community to gather ideas, opinions and concerns
Interviews with children from the local schools and contests for project design ideas
Finding the needed place
Organizing maintenance and security
Phase 2: Execution
Design project for the playground
Ordering the needed facilities and delivery
Building the playground
Popularization campaigns engaging Varna community members - social media, local media, para champions, events, diversity appreciation materials, etc.
Preparing “Playground Usage and safety instruction” boards
Phase 3: Opening: Empower and build a community through play
Opening event - how to use the playground, self-directed free play for all kids
Monthly events for building a community and fostering diversity appreciation by play and interaction for the period of 4 months
Playground planting events twice a year
Once in a year - renovation and repairing event for the whole community
Giving future life of the idea - to expand the playground and/or to multiply the idea
Varna will have an inclusive playground with facilities, built mainly from natural materials where kids can be teach for the love of nature. It will be situated in an accessible, healthy and human loving environment for disabled children and other children in the town. A civic cohesion community will be formed, which interacts for the sake of improving the urban environment and local social policy. Another expected change is that the tabu talks will be opened, in order to make people think about children with special needs without prejudices. Our project will bring some awareness to the citizens, that places which gather kids no matter their physical or psychological condition are very beneficial. Our idea could be distributed among other cities and fulfill the necessity of such spaces.
We plan to actively involve children, families with disabled children, various experts on child development and health, local government and every citizen in Varna who is interested:
children and students will create idea project designs and art installations for the playground; kids with different disabilities and their families we’ll communicate their needs and how they can participate in the project discussion about the need for inclusive playground and the fears of inclusion with citizens and professionals at a round table
playground for the community, in which they will have active role in creating a plant garden; citizens will have active participation in the creative process of the idea, maintaining the space and changing attitudes in society about people with different abilities.
We are a team of 4 members whose life interests and experience are architecture, urban planning, natural building materials, outdoor activities, education, children's rights, child development, supporting parenting and free play for kids. Our belief that every child has the right to play with others, our common values and the Educational Community-Varna gathered us together to create something which we believe is very needed - an inclusive playground. It is important for us to make all kids feel happy and valued and to teach our kids that differences should bring society together but not separate it.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Playground Planning, Preparation and Execution:
- Playground Planning, Preparation and Execution - 40 000 EUR
- Public relation and popularization - 1 000 EUR
- Consultations with experts and event for community discussion - 500 EUR
- Personnel costs (Organization team) - 4000 EUR
Opening and Building a community:
- Events preparation, organization, popularization - 2500 EUR
- Playground maintenance - 2000 EUR
- good examples of inclusive spaces and playgrounds - design and creation
- feedback about our idea
- contacts of active communities involved in inclusion