Friday, April 06, 2007

Garden of fragrances for the visually impaired

A fragrant garden developed specifically for the visually impaired by Islamabad Horticulture Society (IHS) founding member Ghazanfar M Khan and his wife Naeema, was handed over to the CDA on Saturday.Ghazanfar and Naeema have set up the beautiful garden named Khizer-e-Rah in the G-6/4 sector, which is perhaps the first of its kind in Pakistan.

Environment Director General Mazhar Hussain said the couple had shown the Capital Development Authority (CDA) a new direction by making this garden. The CDA had not done much for special people and sought suggestions from the public for establishing a similar facility at an appropriate location, he added.Khan, whose love for gardening and flowers was evident from his speech, said that the idea of making such a garden came to him during his visits abroad.

“Abroad they have these facilities, but not here, that’s why I initiated it,” he added.A group of volunteers will be constituted to conduct visits for the visually impaired. “We are stepping into uncharted territory and will evolve a system through trial-and-error,” said Khan, who is also the IHS senior vice president.The visually impaired would be able to identify plants and flowers through their fragrance. The garden, dedicated by Khan to his parents, has been designed in a way that the visitors wouldn’t have to encounter any hurdles while going around.

Hussain agreed to a request for providing transport to Al-Makhtoum Special Education Centre students for the visually impaired. Nazmina, a visually impaired teacher at the centre, had earlier also made the request. She said that visiting parks around town was quite a hassle, as they had not been made specifically for them. “But here, I am sure we wouldn’t face any problems; we can touch the flowers and smell their fragrance,” she said.

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Raja Zulqarnain Khan, who was the chief guest on the occasion, appreciated the CDA’s efforts regarding this. He called upon horticulturists to help to them to launch pilot projects for raising flowers and plants in earthquake-devastated areas.Former IHS president Shaukat Malik and National Horticulture Society head Islamullah Khan also spoke on the occasion.

Winner of the All Pakistan Na’at competition and a Al-Makhtoum Centre student Adnan Rasheed gave a fine display of his na’at reciting skills.The ceremony also featured the formal signing of documents between Khan and the CDA officials while Raja Zulqarnain announced a donation to the hosts for running the garden.Among the audience were students, horticulturists, women and children.


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