Sunday, March 7, 2021

Leave no child behind: Sime Darby, Unicef unveil new inclusive playground for kids

Unicef and Sime Darby Property believe it’s vital that the country does not leave children with disabilities behind in play.

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Sime Darby Property today unveiled its first universally designed, inclusive children’s playground, to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The playground has been constructed in the middle of the city of Elmina, a new township in Subang, Selangor.

The opening is a significant step forward in Unicef and Sime Darby’s quest to build communities that fully include children with disabilities.

The playground was designed in collaboration with children both with and without disabilities, their families, and a number of leading organisations for people with disabilities.

In 2017, Unicef released a report on “Childhood Disability in Malaysia”, which reported that public knowledge was low, attitudes were predominantly negative, and practices excluded children with disabilities.

When Unicef shared these findings with Sime Darby Property (SDP), they pledged to be “Inclusion Champions” for children with disabilities.

They were in the midst of developing the City of Elmina township with the concept of sustainability and inclusion and were glad to include children with disabilities in their plans.

The Elmina playground is one result. It is the first in Malaysia that ensures access to as many children as possible regardless of disability.

Play is one of the best gifts we can give our children: the freedom to explore, discover, and to be silly. It’s when they express themselves most spontaneously.

For these reasons, Unicef and SDP believe it’s vital that the country does not leave children with disabilities behind in play.

The year 2020, and the Covid-19 crisis has given us the opportunity to dream of how we can better treat children with disabilities.

As the year comes to an end, and a post-Covid-19 future seems like a real possibility, Malaysia is sticking to its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.

A key principle of those goals is to ensure that no child is left behind.

Inclusion is a right to be enjoyed by all children regardless of ability, it is not a privilege reserved for just a few.

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