Abandoned park in Halabja turned into disability-friendly green space

Local authorities and non-governmental organizations in the Kurdistan Region’s Halabja province, last month inaugurated a new accessible park for people with disabilities. The 1000-meter square park, located in Khurmal district, northeast of Halabja province, is completely accessible, including the pathways and rest rooms. 

The new park, named Khoshy – “happiness” – was previously a park but had been abandoned and used as a dumping ground. The project was funded and executed by Hungarian Interchurch Aid in cooperation with a Kurdish local NGO, Halabja Disabled Organization, and local relevant authorities, including the water and electricity directorates in Khurmal. 

Decorated with 300 flowers and 20 trees, the park hosts six plant beds where people from the area can grow essential vegetables and fruits that are necessary for a household, Mariwan Wahby, the head of HDO, told Kurdistan 24 on Sunday. 

The beds themselves are designed to be accessible for people with physical disabilities. There are two gazebos in the park as well, that can provide shade in the summer heat or a place to rest. “We intended to provide people with disabilities with a space so they can grow organic vegetables for themselves,” Wahby added. 

The future administration of the place will be handled by the local municipality, Wahby said after his organization executed and supervised the revitalization process. The project implemented by HIA is aimed “to provide support on a community level and to strengthen capacities of local civil society, community-based, and non-governmental organizations,” the Hungarian NGO told Kurdistan 24. 

The European organization’s undertaking is part of wider enterprise dubbed Qudra 2, a regional initiative financed by the European Union’s Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis; the EU Madad Fund; the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development; and Spain’s Agency for International Development Cooperation. Qudra 2’s mandate covers the Kurdistan Region and central provinces of Iraq. 

by Halgurd Sherwani

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