Beaches are wonderful. Being there makes us feel one with nature. But beaches are rarely wheelchair accessible, which makes it difficult for people who use wheelchairs to enjoy them. But there are exceptions. There is an island in Greece called the Corfu Island, which is situated in the Ionian Sea. This island has developed techniques and floating wheelchairs, making their beaches more wheelchair friendly through a certain project.
The project was envisioned by Corfu Prefecture Association of People with Special Needs chairman, Andreas Skoupouras. They launched the campaign in the year 2015, the responsibilities of which were taken over by the municipal authority in the summer of that year. The campaign introduced floating wheelchairs which were the first of its kind and enabled people to enjoy the water of the sea which was earlier not a possibility. The beach has around 10 floating wheelchairs for people with physical disabilities which are very severe.
The wheelchairs have been distributed all over the island with people employed for their fair distribution and top class maintenance. The wheelchair arsenal will grow by four every summer. Around eight ramps have been installed for easy access to areas of the sea where the current is low and swimming is relatively easy and less risky. Special Lifts have been installed in its theater and indoor swimming pool. A Greek startup has also developed a mechanism call Seatrac which helps wheelchair users move in and out of water with the assistance of a pulley system.
The locals of the island take great pride in their wheelchairs. They have been extremely cooperative and lent a huge hand in its storing and maintenance.
This is a great initiative for people in wheelchairs. Water has great therapeutic benefits and brings positivity with it. The news of such a beach is reaching the right people. Travel Agents from all over the world are looking up Corfu for their clientele. Countries like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy have their people travelling to Corfu to enjoy the experience. Various other groups and associations are also getting inspired to develop a beach similar to the ones in Greek.