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Compassion for a cause

Child empowerment is the underlying message of Udaan says Sujatha  

Udaan, directed by Sujatha Balakrishnan and written by Rebecca Ananya Mathias, an engineering student from MSRIT, is an awareness skit on special children. Udaan, in Hindi, means to fly, but also stands for undoubtedly differently-abled amazing nebulae.

The skit is an awareness initiative by Soroptimist International of Bangalore, a global organisation of women in diverse walks of life working on the upliftment of women and children from less privileged backgrounds.

Sujatha, a former teacher and counsellor for children with learning disabilities, joined SI, Bangalore in 2004 and is their Immediate Past President. “We focus on the three Es: educate, empower and enable. Women’s empowerment is the core vision.” She speaks with passion about the skit and the cause for special children. “I am an advocate of inclusive education. I go every year to the U.S., where my daughter lives, and volunteer in public schools there. There children are accepted as they are. You don’t label them.”

The multi-faceted Sujatha, who has done a lot of theatre, says the art form is a powerful medium of expression. “Theatre done for a social cause is not just for entertainment, but goes beyond that. Working on this play has been a dream of mine. The children and parents were so enthusiastic. I got an overwhelming response from them.”

Sujatha says the script is very powerful. “The protagonist is Tara, she’s autistic. Eighty per cent of the characters are real. The teacher in the play has a theatre connection too. She is the primary caregiver for her sister who has Down’s syndrome sister. A teenage boy plays Tara in scenes three and four. His brother goes to Spastics Society.” Another highlight of the play is a rap song written by Sujatha. “Special children are a delight, in their own right. Show them that you are there, whenever they need your care”….goes the first line, followed by rhyming gems of compassion. “I just sat down one day to write and the song just flowed. We plan to showcase this with the children coming with placards with each line written on them.” Sujatha concludes with a quote by anonymous: “Children with special needs aren’t sent to special parents. They make parents special”.

Udaan will be staged at Orion mall amphitheatre on November 21 at 6 p.m. Entry is free.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 1:46:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/compassion-for-a-cause/article7892202.ece

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