Ben Gurion Accessible Park in Dimona .
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Thanks to from the support of JNF Holland, the park has been upgraded, rendered accessible to people with special needs and equipped with unique playground sculptures. An artificial lake is now under construction and should be completed soon.
“This is a special playground for special children,” declared Freddie Rosenberg, Director of JNF Holland. “We are giving children with special needs the opportunity to enjoy life and nature. The JNF wants Israel to flourish for the benefit of all its residents, not just those who have the full use of all five senses and can walk unaided.”
The large, gaily-colored sculptures, which are designed to resemble insects and animals, can be used for climbing and are specially adapted to meet the needs of children with disabilities: the paths lead all the way up to the sculptures, obviating the need to cross any uneven terrain, and the broad passages are suitable for wheelchairs. The special textured materials, the bright colors and the sound-carrying installations inside the sculptures offer an experience that appeals to all the senses.
Footpaths accessible to visitors using a walking frame or wheelchair wind their way among the sculptures and the other items of playground equipment. These paths are equipped with a railing along the side that provides support for unsteady walkers. Rough-surfaced flagstones warn the blind and partially sighted of upcoming junctions or bends in the path.
The Tzabar School for Children with Special Needs, which is situated just a few hundred meters away from the park, caters for children with physical challenges including impaired vision, and hearing impairment, as well as cognitive challenges such as autism and intellectual disabilities. Pupils and staff visit the park regularly to enjoy the amenities it has to offer. As Jewish and Bedouin children learn together at the school, the park also serves as a meeting point for children from different backgrounds. In the current tense situation, we can all only hope to learn from the Tzabar schoolchildren how to live together in an atmosphere of friendship and cooperation.
Deputy Mayor of Dimona Ariel Lalush welcomed the members of the delegation from Holland and thanked them warmly, saying, “This park will be a venue for enjoyment and recreation for the families of Dimona.”
In the afternoons, the park attracts large numbers of parents and children, and during holiday time, the local residents use it as a communal venue for family picnics. A new residential neighborhood is in the process of being built around the park – a sign that Dimona is growing and developing. The relocation of IDF bases to the Negev and the construction of the military’s training base city are expected to give the city an added boost.
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