A must-visit place in Spitak for every child
UNICEF and partners establish Spitak’s first inclusive playground
Each one of us usually has certain moments and memories from childhood that we carry into adult-hood. For all children in Spitak and the nearby communities, these memories promise to be more colourful thanks to the public park.
Spitak's Victory City Park re-opened two months ago, sporting a new beautifully designed and well-equipped inclusive playground for children and adolescents. This was largely due to the efforts of UNICEF, joined by the Armenian community in Argentina and Hayastan All Armenian Fund, but also the Governor’s office in Lori marz and Spitak Municipality. “30 years after the disastrous earthquake, Spitak still did not have a decent inclusive area for all children to play aside from a few neighbourhood-based slides and swings,” says UNICEF Representative in Armenia Tanja Radocaj.
“The support from the Armenian community in Argentina is what made it possible, as well as the strong commitment and backup from regional and Spitak authorities. I met with Spitak Mayor Gagik Sahakyan in August 2018 and we re-opened the park on the International Day of Family in May 2019, because all families and children should be able to benefit from early childhood play and opportunities for inclusion.”
Before embarking on building the playground, UNICEF did a stocktaking of play and communication needs that children with and without disabilities have. “We wanted it to be a place for all children – with and without disabilities, young children and adolescents,” says UNICEF’s Education Specialist Alvard Poghosyan. The design hence included colourful slalom gliders, swings, and equipment that develops children’s physical, play and counting capabilities, and motor skills.
“We are concerned because almost every second child in Armenia is deprived of entertainment opportunities.”
“We have to remember that play is a child’s right, enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, because it is crucial for healthy development, especially in early childhoodThis is why we agreed with Spitak Municipality to establish it in the city park so that it is accessible for all families,”notes Mrs Poghosyan.
“Before building this beautiful playground our park was deserted. Now, especially on the weekend, it is crowded and noisy in a good sense.”
“The Municipality installed a new energy-efficient lighting system at the park for the convenience and safety of visitors in the evenings.”
The park, which was once empty, has turned into a playground full of children's smiles and cheerful voices, a place where every child, regardless of age and abilities, can play, communicate with peers, and take a vivid fragment of childhood into adulthood as the grow.
Many more communities across Armenia are waiting for theirs.
Watch the video!