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Kalam’s gift for the disabled

india Updated: Jul 13, 2007 04:18 IST
Ramesh Babu

The mentally challenged children at the Central Institute of Mental Retardation (CIMR) in Thiruvananthapuram were in for a pleasant surprise on Thursday.

Waiting to take them on a joyride were army-trained horses Fairluck and Victor — a parting gift from President APJ Abdul Kalam.

A few months back, CIMR founder director Fr Thomas Felix had written to the President wishing to have a trained horse for the institute. The horse, he had written, could help the children in their therapy.

Not one to disappoint children, Kalam had not one but two horses sent over. Fairluck and Victor arrived at the institute after a seven-day journey by road.

“It is great gesture from the President. By overcoming the fear of these animals, there will be a marked difference in the growth process of the children. Their ability to concentrate will also improve,” said Fr Felix.

Kalam has had a long association with the institute. In 2000, he had visited its headquarters ‘Jeevan Prakash’ to inaugurate the Performing Arts Centre.

There are about 200 children at CIMR’s two centres in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.