MORE THAN SPECIAL CHILDREN

The Grace Foundation Works with Special Needs Children

A kind smile is seen on the face as these children run in a different race
No records are set, but they will do their best and in their own way they will pass the test
They might not look like just you or me but let’s not judge by the outward we see
Open your hearts to them; you would come to know that they are more than special children
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Ayesha Zaheer
Amidst a Dark Passage شاهدي شاشة أكبر >
Anxious little faces, wobbly feet, nervous eyes! The sharp sound of the whistle sent the young athletes running forward to achieve their goal not more than a few meters ahead. In the near distance a red ribbon jubilated against the wind beckoning the winner forward. The good start that it was didn’t last long, a little girl in all her zeal to race, suddenly took a fall. Teary eyes set in a sad face; she sat on the ground longing to join her companions running ahead.
A loud cheer among the crowd startled me into thinking that why on earth would a crowd cheer upon the fall of a little girl? What I saw next was indeed an inspiring moment. I still can experience the feelings of awe I felt that day.
The participants had noticed the girl fall down, and had all stopped in their tracks to turn back and stand beside her. They helped her onto her feet and holding hands, they all raced across the welcoming red ribbon. It was a gesture so pure and noble…
Did I mention that the participants of the race were children with disabilities, which in general are known as “special children”?

To be honest I admit that I had never given any thought to these children before, for me they never did exist. Interacting with these kids was a totally new experience for me, and still a further shock for me to discover that even if they do not participate in society as we normal beings do, they are well aware and more sensitive to what is happening around them. Seemingly they do not possess the capability to express themselves; yet they do experience emotions as strongly as we do.
My interest in them deepened, as I visited their school “Sun Rising School” in Lahore, where I met 16-year-old Maryam. At the time of her admission she was assessed to have moderate mental retardation. She would neither take interest in her studies nor participate in any school activities. After social efforts of the staff she started learning her lessons and gained confidence in joining the social, cultural and sports activities offered by the school. She also started taking interest in knitting, sewing and embroidery. With her participation in International Special Olympics, Maryam won a Gold medal in individual skills in basketball and the first Gold medal for Pakistan in these games.

Today’s world presents a myriad of unnecessary obstacles to people with disabilities, both physical and social, that can only be explained by the fact that disability can happen to anybody at anytime. What these children lack is the self-respect, confidence and an individuality of their own.
The solution is to offer such children access to activities that give life meaning and purpose. For most children with disabilities, this translates into some combination of productive employment, contribution to family and community, and active participation in society as a whole.

Let’s be an active part of the journey for the special children, transcending from segregation to integration.



Written by Ayesha Zaheer

Ayesha Zaheer is a Volunteer Consultant with Grace Foundation.

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