Equity, Social skills, Acceptance and Inclusion through Picnics

Its been a wonderful and successful partnership between SAATH, the Parents Support Group of special needs children, and Manzil, a non-profit organization providing a community and resources for local youth from low-income backgrounds to learn, teach, be creative, see the world in new ways. SAATH and Manzil have had two highly successful picnics at Lodi gardens in New Delhi where the two groups of children met and joined hands in many structured and unstructured enjoyable activities together. They were supported in the events by the families of SAATH and the volunteers from Manzil. 

Providing special needs children appropriate social interaction with typical peers is always a challenge unless the peer group is appropriately sensitized. While certain schools have had some success in this area, not all special needs children are fortunate enough to have access to these facilities by virtues of their levels of impairment or simply lack of opportunity due to inadequate institutions that can provide such an interaction.

There is also great novelty in meeting new children who are so welcoming and so encouraging. This cannot really be replicated easily by any institution. The values instilled in their children by Manzil were very clear as they showed sensitivity, warmth and persistence in their interactions with the special needs children. There was a simplicity in the entire motivation which seemed to target that as a group how to  have maximum fun while  focusing on inclusion of our differently abled children. As usual the Manzil gang showed their prowess in creating fun and excitement and being the best social therapists our kids can ever have, supporting them in every way and celebrating them along with us. Whether it was providing live music and singing and dancing, or having everyone running in races or the structured group coordination activities or just playing frisbee – each activity was made unbelievably enjoyable by the volunteers who were old hands at how to throw a rolicking blast.

Thanks to the  SAATH families who contributed amazing food for the entire crowd of atleast 100 people, we feasted and fattened ourselves and all had a wonderful time.

A  brilliant aspect of this event, which seemed to add to feel good quotient, was that it took place without a single rupee exchanging hands. We kept money out of it and each of us contributed to the best of our abilities, inclination and means and we proved that if people collaborate a wonderful meaningful memorable event can be created without a single coin being collected. And how is that important? Well it means we will never be constrained in any future event by lack of funding.

Participating in regular events like this are critical for building our childrens’ confidence to take their rightful place in society. The children and volunteers of Manzil  have shown us that they too have a place in society- as leaders of a social revolution whereby we all move to living in a more equitable world holding hands all the way and creating our own magic….

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