Babruisk: city center is not suitable for independent wheelchair trips (photos)

2014 2014-04-11T17:29:40+0300 2014-04-11T17:29:40+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

A healthy person can walk the distance from the city exhibition hall to the Paplauski Art Museum in several minutes. These cultural institutions are located on both sides of the central Lenin Square, and are separated by crosswalks with high curbs which are insurmountable for wheelchair users. For them, such trips take much time and are impossible without the company of volunteers or relatives.

Last year, Siarhei Matskevich exacted a compensation from the road maintenance company. He appealed to the court after he dropped out of his wheelchair right in the roadway, as far as the pedestrian crossing was not suited for people with additional needs. As a result of the fall, Siarhei injured his chest and hands, and hit his head.

“Now I am preparing another appeal to the local officials, in which I ask them to once again pay attention to pedestrian crossings with high curbs, which present difficulties to wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs”, says Siarhei Matskevich. “Look at the curbs near the exhibition hall and the shopping center "Vestar", how high do the accompanying people have to raise the wheelchair to put it on the pedestrian crossing. And this is the very center of the city, not far from the Babruisk City Executive Committee!

Siarhei Matskevich has a tricycle wheelchair and moves through the city on his own. However, even in such a wheelchair he often has to move along the roadway for quite a long time, as it is simply impossible to climb high curbs alone.

The City Exhibition Hall, to which there came a group of wheelchair users, is lavishly decorated
with stairs on all sides. However, there is no ramp. Siarhei Matskevich offered the wheelchair users to use their own portable ramp. It is clear that they need the assistance of strangers to install it. Other wheelchair users are carried upstairs by the people who accompany them.

“Sometimes, a wheelchair can tip over during such trips on the stairs. Believe me, it is very unpleasant,” says Nastsia Fiodarava. “I have fallen in such a way many times”.

“Of course, the exhibition hall was built in the Soviet times, when “there were no disabled”, says Inha Tatur with irony. “However, if so much is spoken about the barrier-free space, the problem with getting into the cultural institutions remains acute in Babruisk.”

Only two people with mobility problems agree to visit the exhibition hall of the art museum on Siarhei Matskevich's invitation – Nastsia Fiodarava and Veranika Krychko. They propose us to walk this seemingly simple way with them. They overcome the inconvenient curbs right near the building of the hall. In several dozens of meters they face with two variants of crossing a road. The first of them leads to the shop “Chaika” with broken asphalt and pits. The wheelchair users use the other way, the pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Satsyialistychnaya and Gorky Streets. There is another problem - a high curb without descent. Nastsia overcomes it with the assistance of her mother, Veranika is helped by volunteer Illia, and Siarhei has to go on the edge of the carriageway.

A few meters after it, it is also necessary to cross the road in the direction of the cafe "Lia Fantana". The wheelchair users are again met by high curbs and have to use the assistance of the accompanying people. The next crossing, through Savetskaya Street, is equipped with a lowered curb, and is crossed quickly.

Finally, the wheelchair users reach your destination, the museum named after Paplauski. There is a back door with a ramp there. The only problem is that it is locked. In order to get in through it, one needs to come to the central entrance and talk to the employees. There is no call button or something like that's why the wheelchair users again can not do without the help of volunteers. One of them holds the door, the other helps Siarhei to overcome the high step, he drives in and negotiates with the employee about a tour for friends. The final touch: after the museum employee opens the door, he also holds it, because there is no system of locking or automatic opening. The wheelchair users finally get into the museum.

“It is quite easy to get there compared to other cultural institutions”, says Nastsia Fiodarava. “We will surely make a group trip there. However, it is quite difficult to get to the building itself. My friends, who were getting to the square from the other end of town, first had to wait for a suitable low-floor bus or trolleybus. Then there is a problem with all these stairs and curbs. Of course, even an unaccompanied walk in the city center is an impossible task for a volunteer. I 'm not even talking about the sleeping suburbs, where lowered curbs and ramps are are great rarity.

In the photos:

1. Siarhei Matskevich's portable ramp
2. Stairs of the city exhibition hall
3. Curb at the intersection of Satsyialistychnaya and Gorky Streets
4. Crosswalk near the cafe “Lia Fantana”

5-6. Central entrance the Art Museum named after Paplauski
7. Museum backdoor, equipped with a ramp

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