Special kids do their bit to light lives

Students of Udaan School for Special Children at Jyoti Nagar here receive plenty of compliments for making beautiful Diwali gifts. And why not? They have overcome adverse medical conditions to prepare goodies.

Their creations such as candles, earthen pots, paper carrybags, shagun envelopes, gift packets, file covers, greeting cards and lamps have been exhibited in the school at Jyoti Nagar here. The exhibition that started on Saturday will conclude on Diwali.

The school's pre-Diwali exhibition is an attempt to encourage children to explore their creativity to make them self-dependent and self-employed.

Meenu Shahi, president and proprietor of the school, said: "We have informed our friends to buy Diwali gifts from our school. We are conducting exhibitions at Silver Height Apartments, Viva Collage and other places so that all items are sold off. It is a small initiative to motivate students for a better living."

It took students six months to make the items, she said, adding that 25 people guided them as autistic students and toddlers were not proficient enough.

Shahi said money collected from the exhibition would be used for purchasing gym equipment for the students. "Last year, we had opened a gym. We have only a cycle and a cross-trainer. We will buy more equipment this year."
The school started in 2010. Initially, there were seven students but, now, the number stands at 75. Students in the age group of 3 to 30 years are imparted vocational training and other skills such as money transaction, printing and scanning.

The school has students afflicted with autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, besides children who are mentally challenged and slow learners.

"It is difficult to cope up with the children but vocational courses have a positive impact on their minds. A few students are pursuing Class 3 from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi, while a few of them are in Class 5, Shahi said, adding that the school was in the need of funds from the Punjab government.
Students Ishwinder Singh and Vivek Aggarwal have been selected for the South Asian Pacific Special Olympic Games to be held in Australia in December. The duo has been selected in 100m and 200m races.

"The students were selected at Nationals held in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. They will be staying in Australia for 20 days," she added.

Ishwinder's mother Sukham, who was the national basketball player, said: "My son is suffering from the Down syndrome. It is a proud moment for us that he will be representing India. He is among the 550 children who will represent the country in the games. The state government should encourage such children by honouring them."


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