Monday, February 18, 2013

A disabled friendly environment in Kenya

The petition below says it all. 

Despite Kenya being a signatory to the rights of the disabled, very few places around the country really think about the plight of the various disabilities and address the issues that these raise.

One latest example that I came across today is when I went to book a train ticket to return to Mombasa.

First, nothing about our trains is disabled friendly. Neither the trains nor the platforms. 

If any person has mobility problems, getting on and off these trains is quite a challenge if not next to impossible, e.g. if a person was wheelchair bound or uses two crutches.

Second, I found out today that the Nairobi/Mombasa train no longer leaves from platform 1. It now leaves from platform 2 which passengers have to access via a staircase. How are the disabled, old and infirm supposed to deal with that?

I asked the booking clerk this when she informed me about this change and she admitted that it's highly inconvenient at best and ridiculous in the extreme. That Kenya Railways/Rift Valley Railways were looking into the matter.

So, while they are doing this, people with disabilities cannot and will not be able to use this form of public transport!

Didn't it occur to them earlier?

Why is it that our policy makers and in the current set up at the railway station nobody thought about this problem before changing platforms. As it is, climbing into the train is not at all easy for the disabled, the old and the very young. 

Why is this country so insensitive and it's various organs like the public transport sector?

Multi-storey buildings are another case in point. No ramp, no lifts and if there are lifts, they sometimes are available after a the first or second floors. So, how is a disabled person supposed to get to these floors to be able to get to the lifts? 

Wake up, Kenyan policy makers and the planners of towns and cities!


A disabled friendly environment in Kenya

The petition is important because it will help the disabled people live more independently. They need to be recognized by all.

Sent by Avaaz on behalf of Nafisa's petition

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