The First Playground and Garden in kv. Iztok were opened in Kustendil
Friday, 22 June 2012
On June 20th at Iztok residence complex in Kustendil, known as the Roma quarter, the first children's playground and eco garden were opened. For the first time the children from the community saw in their quarter new swings, seesaw, sandbox, slides. There were treats as well.
The parents celebrated the new eco garden with ten cypresses almost two meters high and an impressive fountain. The new "hot spots" in the quarter are situated at its center near the Chitalishte "Vasil Levski" that has been the engine for the realization of both sites. The children's playground and eco garden were realized within the project "Activating Communities through the Chitalishtes in Bulgaria" of AGORA Platform, supported by "America for Bulgaria" Foundation. These were the needs identified during the two civic discussions in the local community applying the AGORA approach.
During the discussions the people from kv. Iztok mentioned as a weakness of the quarter the lack of green and cultivated spaces, safe playgrounds for the children. The problematic issues were resolved by starting the construction of both sites that are now completed and awaiting their visitors. The work on the playground and eco garden continued two months during which the two spaces were defined, pavements were replaced, the equipment was designed, produced and installed. As the local coordinator and initiator of the project, Chitalishte "Vasil Levski" guarantees the protection of both sites and shared that they have already become popular attraction for the locals. It is not unusual to see children and adults to pose for photos in front of the new attractions. The eco garden is an attractive location even in the evening when the colorful lights are on and create a festive spirit.
The opening of the two spaces was honored by representatives of the Chitalishte, local community and journalists. Mr. Sasho Krastev, Chairman of the Chitalishte shared that in the initiative implementation were involved about 200 people, most of them volunteers. Mr. Krastev together with Mr. Petar Igov, Project Coordinator wished those two spaces to be the starting point of the beautification of Iztok quarter. Mrs. Emilia Lissichkova, Chairperson of AGORA Platform emphasized the effectiveness of AGORA approach for mobilization and solidification of the community and attraction of additional resources. In Kustendil the additionally attracted benefits and resources exceeded in times the initially received support from AGORA Platform amounting to 7 000 BNG.
For the creation of the two already emblematic spots in the quarter despite AGORA Platform and Chitalishte "Vasil Levski" credit should be given to Kustendil Municipality, workers from the temporary employment program and volunteers. Most of the materials needed for the construction were provided by Kustendil Municipality and the construction works were done by the local people. Chitalishte "Vasil Levski" is especially grateful to the local woodworker who volunteered his labor in making the nice benches around the garden as well as part of the equipment in the playground. The local business contributed a lot with funds for the fountain and took the responsibility for monitoring and preserving the garden.
Chitalishte "Vasil Levksi" has been established in 1965 and since then is the only civic and cultural center in the Roma quarter in Kustendil that is a home currently of about 10 000 people. Despite taking care of the cultural life and the community celebrations, the Chitalishte works for development of the quarter and its residents by participation in many projects.
The next idea shared by the Chitalishte team is a step further ahead in the "green" efforts of the community - to plant in front of every house in the quarter a tree that will be named after the child in the home. That will not only increase the green spots in the quarter and contribute to its good look but will also educate the children to take care and be responsible to the plants.