Visit to the School for Special Students
"The civilised person is judged by how well he responds to the needs of the less fortunate."
On the morning of 1st March, we found ourselves in the pristine environs of Navjivni, the school for children with special needs. Founded in rented quarters with one student in 1982, the school now sits pretty well in the well maintained infrastructure. It has 165 students on its rolls with nearly 45 boarders.
Nearly 3 percent of the world's population is mentally challenged. In developing countries this figure is even higher owing to malnutrition. Club this figure with other learning disabilities such as hearing and speech impairment and many more, the statistics reach around 10 percent.
We explored the campus and their vibrant classrooms inquisitively where we learnt the students are divided into various groups on the basis of their IQ levels namely primary, pre-primary, pre-vocational and so on. They had a craft room, music and dance room, physiotherapy lab, art room, computer lab and what not. We were amazed to see the beautiful handmade artefacts on display such as key rings, bags, wall hangings to name a few. We bought some souvenirs.
Shaking leg with students in dance class, stroke at carrom, playing volleyball in the ground, enjoying swings, cycling were part of our interactive activities where we saw the world from their perspective more closely.
The day winded up with an interactive session with the Mr N S Sodhi, the force behind this institution who has devoted his 36 years of selfless service. He motivated us to promise ourselves that we would work for their betterment and accept these children in our society like any other normal being.