“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller
This month, the Pledge 1 % initiative and International Day of Charity found us in the pristine environment of BUDS School, Panangad. The school takes care of around 25 kids both girls and boys who are differently abled by birth. Most of the kids were independent except for a few who required the help of the teachers and caretakers to do things.
2.5 to 3% of the world’s population is mentally challenged. In developing countries, this figure is even higher owing to malnutrition during pregnancy. Club this figure with other disabilities like hearing and speech impairment, physical handicap, blindness, etc and the statistics arrive at 10%. Just so you understand what that means, 10 in every one hundred people today are living with disability.
We reached the school at 12 noon and were welcomed by the teacher in charge. We went inside to find about 20 kids waiting to meet us. They were all really excited to see us and immediately started communicating with us. The teacher spoke to us about BUDS and about each and every child there. They are taught to do a lot of creative works like tailoring, patchwork and the lot. What happens here is that individual learning plans for each kid is created according to what they understand are the pupil’s abilities and needs. This is constantly reviewed and assessed and adjusted accordingly. In the course of our visit, we were overwhelmed with the commitment and determination of the staff to ensure that these children could carry out basic functions.
There were kids who were autistic and visually and audibly impaired, but each of them had a talent, which was the highlight. The response was amazing, almost every child smiled, laughed and was able to shake hands. Each kid performed for us by singing, mimicking and other stuff. They were eager to show us what they could do and this was a heart whelming moment for each and every one of us.
After this, we provided them with food and stationery. We could make out that the kids were really happy and excited to be with us. We took a lot of pictures with them and it was a wonderful time of laughter and fun. Leaving the place, our minds were filled with happiness and also a lot of information about these kids and other kids around the world who live with this disability. We realized that at times “the kids who you’re trying to inspire, end up inspiring you” to do a lot of good things.