Location: Borjomi municipality
Project value: 52 846.92 PLN
Donor: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland
NGO “Green Borjomi”
Agency of Protected Areas – Administration of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
For many years the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park and Borjomi municipality have been a popular destination among both domestic and international tourists, as well as educational groups, such as schools, universities, etc. However, until the spring of 2018 the Park was not equipped with any infrastructure for persons with disabilities. The Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park statistics indicate that there is a need to provide access to the Park both for individuals and groups organised by care institutions (NGOs, educational institutions). Each year ca. 5-6 groups and about 15 persons contact the Park administration inquiring about the availability of the Park’s offer to persons with disabilities.
Neither the visitors’ centres nor the picnic and camp sites are adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities, while the Park personnel has no training in regards to communication with such persons and lacks the skills necessary to adjust the park to accommodate their needs.
Although various regulations and documents oblige the administration of the Park and the Georgian Agency of Protected Areas to implement solutions that take into consideration the rights of persons with disabilities, until the spring 2018 the administration did not possess any own funding for this purpose and did not receive any funding for infrastructural actions.
The project carried out jointly with the Solidarity Fund PL addressed these issues and constituted the first step towards the opening of the infrastructure of Georgian National Parks to the needs of persons with disabilities. Not only did the project allow for small infrastructural investments, but also opened a space for collaboration and integration of the wards of 4 care centres.
The project consisted in adapting the existing infrastructure of the Borjomi National Park to the needs of guests/tourists with disabilities, which was combined with integrating and activating initiatives for disabled persons (i.e. organisation of workshops and meetings for the wards of 4 day-care facilities from different regions of Georgia).
In order to create appropriate Park infrastructure, a diagnosis and an expert evaluation of the situation were carried out to indicate, how the existing conditions in the Park could be adjusted to the needs of persons with disabilities. The evaluation was carried out by the Accessible Tourism Center Parsa organisation, in accordance with the ISO standards for infrastructure for disabled persons. The resulting document offers a thorough and practical insight into what changes need to be introduced to the infrastructure, and how to develop the National Park in order to adapt it and make it more accessible to persons with disabilities.
Also, in the vicinity of the building , a picnic site was created (a wheelchair-accessible table) and a wooden path was paved in order to facilitate access for persons with reduced mobility.
Additionally, a large board containing information on the National Park, adjusted to the needs of persons with reduced mobility, was placed and an educational trail for blind persons with equipped with boards presenting different kinds of animals and plants was created (using convex images and descriptions in Braille).
Apart from the infrastructural elements, the project offered an opportunity for a meeting between the wards of 4 day-care centres from Borjomi (Borjomi Day Center „TEBE” run by Together for Real Changes organisation) and Gori, Kareli, and Khashuri (Welfare and Development Center). On the 21st and 22nd of November 2018 workshops for persons with disabilities were organised, during which the participants practised creating Christmas decorations using natural products of a forest environment. Both the wards and the caretakers stressed that form many it was the first occasion to experience activities outside their care centre, as well as the first meeting with wards from other centres. Persons with disabilities also created prototypes of infrastructures, which they would like to have in the Park, and expressed their needs related to the use of the Park. The decorations crafted by persons with disabilities were presented on an exhibition that marked the concluding event of the project. The event gathered representatives of local authorities and enterprises, as well as the director of the Park, the director of the Agency of Protected Areas in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, and the representatives of the Agency from Tbilisi.
The Project was co-financed by the Polish development cooperation programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.