JOHN L. PAUL
It was all fun and no competition at the event organised specially for physical and mentally challenged children.
Six hundred and fifty students from 32 schools for children with physical and mental disabilities had a gala day at an arts festival held in Toc-H Public School in the city. The event was the seventh edition of Bhavana, organised each year by the Rotary Cochin International. The noteworthy fact was that, unlike in regular school youth fetes, the children participated in the events sans the obsession to win.
Five events were held — group dance, group song, tableau, painting and drawing, for both the category of students. The synchronous manner in which the children performed the dance needs special mention.
Tableau was another noteworthy event, in which most of the participants expressed their concern at the rampant destruction of forests and wildlife. Among the placards that one team carried was — ‘Stop the use of air conditioners and frigerators. Protect the Ozone layer'. Each of the participants presented himself/herself on stage covered by a hardboard replica of A/C and refrigerator. Another school highlighted the threat posed by polluting factories to Mother Earth. Amidst the debris of fallen trees was showcased a replica of a factory's exhaust pipe with burnt incense pieces to show smoke bellowing from the industrial unit. Yet another school depicted the fate of a family whose head is a liquor addict. “More than the prizes, such events provide children with the much needed exposure to society and an avenue to mingle with others besides their peer group,” said Sr. Prasanna, a nun from Madona Special School, Chalakudy. They become unusually energetic on knowing that they would perform on stage, she said.
The Nirmala Sadan, Muvattupuzha, and Alphons Sadan, Kidangoor, won the first and second places among schools that coach mentally-disabled children.
The Assisi School for the Deaf, Muvattupuzha, and Home of Faith, Chittettukara, were first and second in the physically-disabled category.