THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Away from the chaos of the city lies Thenmala, the eco-tourism destination which is also one of the first eco-tourism destinations to have introduced the braille brochure for the visually challenged and the video brochure for the deaf.
The Thenmala Eco-tourism Promotion Society (TEPS) introduced the disabled-friendly facilities to make it easier for the differently-abled to enjoy the destination and read up on the biodiversity of the place. The braille brochure and the video brochure was unveiled by the Minister for Tourism, Kadakampally Surendran. The 16-page braille brochure was voluntarily prepared by the students of the Government School for the Blind, Vazhuthacaud. Around 275 video brochures in sign language has been created with the help of the Government VHSS for Deaf, Jagathy.
The initiative is an effort to encourage the visually - impaired and hearing-impaired to visit Thenmala and make the state 100 per cent disabled-friendly. “It is not a new barrier-free concept as in 2001 itself, Thenmala Eco-tourism was made disabled-friendly. By introducing braille brochures and video brochures, we wanted more differently-abled people to visit Thenmala individually and enjoy nature like other tourists,” said D Manoj Kumar, project executive. Around 150 braille brochures have been printed.
TEPS is planning to introduce more initiatives which are both disabled-friendly and informative. “As it is the objective of the Tourism Directorate to make all the tourism centres disabled friendly, soon all the tourist spots in the city will be made disabled-friendly,” said a tourism official. The tourism department is also planning to include other facilities such as ramps, wheelchairs and toilets an all tourist spots.