Friday, December 19, 2003


I am very happy to share my experience, which I had on 18th December with the mentally retarded children of the skills and abilities institute in Nerul. It was an wonderful experience and one of the golden opportunities to interact with these mentally challenged kids.
I am being the first person to arrive in the school was greeted with welcoming smiles by the kids playing on the ground. Returning there greets with a similar smile and words of ‘ good morning’ I proceeded towards the principal’s office. I met the principals of both the sections viz. deaf and dumb and mentally challenged Ms.Surekha Patil and Ms.Juee khopkar respectively. They briefed me about the institute and its works and showed me the splendid artwork of the children. They are true craftsmen.I short of words for appreciating the children’s work. I immediately decided to purchase a waste paper basket made from paper by the kids. It is a beautiful piece of work. Though it is a waste basket I am not going to use it as one.
Meanwhile the children were arranged in lines for prayer. The children to our delight sung the songs like ‘ man ki shakti hame de na datha, manka vishwas kamjor ho na!’. Later Sagar, myself , raghu and sunita along with some staff of the school led them to the garden near the school. By splitting the children into groups , older ones led by Sagar and me and the younger ones by sunita and raghu we completed the small trail. The children were very responsive and understanding. They correctly identified mango tree and mentioned many uses of mango.
Returning back we had a feedback session along with a slide show. The feedback was quite successful and so was the slide show. They properly identified most of the plants and animals shown in the slide show. I should say the I wouldn’t have got a better opportunity than this to be with children. The most interesting part was that the older children knew their responsibility of taking care of the younger ones and they did it wonderfully. When the time had come for us to leave we were gifted by a small bouquet made by these kids. What moved us more was the kids saying bye, shaking our hands and looking at us with a longing eyes that asked when we would be returning.

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