JOY OF GIVING WEEK DESIGN FOR CHANGE CONTEST ST. PETER’S COLLEGE, AGRA
Why we took up this Project? After the survey (personal interaction, questionnaire, group discussions) we found that the people had a wrong notion about mentally challenged children. We were depressed and shaken to the core. As we realized that the people of the society have developed many wrong notions about the mentally challenged children. They have tuned their minds that mentally challenged children are burden to the society, object of mockery, fun and disgust. These children are assumed to be violent, mad, useless and should be kept in closed doors. Thus, are not considered as a part of the main stream. On the other hand the parents of these special children were undergoing through a mental trauma. They told us due to our ignorance and non-acceptability not only these children but their parents are also suffering. Parents felt that their children were always neglected, left isolated, had no friends, which made the conditions even worse for them.
Following questionnaire was given to the students for the survey
<ul><li>The result was alarming in fact shocking. </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of future citizens are we nurturing? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they so insensitive? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they not able to feel the pain and sufferings of others? </li></ul><ul><li>Why they have no sense of responsibility towards society? </li></ul><ul><li>Why they are not aware of the problems of the society? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they only interested in materialistic comforts? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they so inhumane? </li></ul><ul><li>What can we do to fill the gap between normal children and special children? </li></ul>
We decided to dedicate the JOY OF GIVING Week to these special children. We wanted to peep in their world and open the windows for them to feel the oneness with the beautiful world outside. Our focus was not only to bring smile on their faces but to make our students more caring, loving, considerate, understanding and compassionate. The purpose is to fill the gap between normal children and special children and make these future citizens more humane.
After a week we realized that the students of St. Alphonsa, School for special children and the students of St. Peter’s College became friends. Our students were aware of every nook and corner of St. Alphonsa School. They knew if one of their friends is annoyed where he will hide. They know how to keep patience and smile when their special friend out of love slaps them. They were able to understand the meaning of their noises, no more fear or hesitation was left. These students have wonderfully transformed the heart of their parents who were hesitant one week before in sending their kids to volunteer special kids. Now these parents are the benefactors and supported the cause by contributing cycles, tricycles, swings, toys, building blocks etc to St. Alphonsa School for Special Children.
JOY OF GIVING (26th September ‘11 – 3rd OCTOBER ‘11) “ COMPASSION” ST. PETER’S COLLEGE, Agra VENUE:- St. Alphonsa School of Special Children Strength:- 20 children The Director:- Sr. Alpho Mathew
As we, the young reporters of Peterian Chimes (Quarterly magazine) of Primary Section of St. Peter’s College, Agra, were frequently visiting the school press noticed a small school St. Alphonsa School for Special Children. What is this special school? Why these kids are called SPECIAL? What is so special about them? These questions were going on in our mind. To get the answers we approached our teachers. They answered our questions through a small session organized in our school where we came to know these kids are so special because they need more love, more care and more attention. But this was not enough. We all wanted to know more. So we decided to have friendly visit to this school with our teachers.
When we shared this with our friends in school that lets do something for these children, they all started making fun of us. They all were hesitant in going their as they thought these kids can go violent and harm them. They might not listen to us. Some of our friends also said that it’s a waste going their and doing some thing for them as they will not understand anything. Even the parents were not supportive. Even they were hesitant in giving permission for such kind of activity.
This visit was like an eye opener for all of us. God has created and made each one of us unique. Most of us are healthy and whole with well formed bodies and minds endowed with intelligence and understanding but there are some who cannot live an ordinary life. They are God’s special children who are an object of our love and concern. They are as important as other people around us. We should not withdraw ourselves from them but should understand their needs, become the answer to their deepest longings. Give them a touch of healing on their crippled spirit that has been laid low by discouragement and flattened by depression. Make them feel that we are near to them. Be a flicker of light on their dark path.
St. Peter’s college has always encouraged us to enhance our talents, skills and creativity and always supported us when we came up with new ideas of contributing to the society. This time also our Principal Rev. Father John Ferriera as always was very supportive when we approached him to celebrated JOY OF GIVING Week with these special children.
After getting the permission from our Principal, we sat with our teachers to strategize what all we can do in JOY OF GIVING Week. Lot of ideas started pouring in. And after lot of filtration we thought of dividing the whole week into Hobby Classes, Entertainment, Health and most important Sharing. Finally, we decided to start our program from 26th September ’11 to 3rd October ’11. We wanted to give a name to this program. Our Principal suggested “COMPASSION” – A feeling of understanding for someone who is suffering. Our purpose was to bring compassion in the hearts of our own friends and parents.
Hesitant, Curious, Eager, Nervous and many mixed emotions were a part of first two days of the Camp. 26th September ’11, the first day of the camp started with the welcoming of Special Children and their parents. Parents were introduced to some eminent doctors of our city to enable them to inquire about the problems of their children. This interaction proved very useful and enriching for everyone. Dr. Surendra Sihota, Psychiatrist, Retired as Director of Mental Hospital, Varanasi
Eminent Psychologist, Psychiatrist and Physiotherapist
From the next day the daily activity began which comprised of Yoga, Laughter Yoga, Clay molding, Thumb printing, Paper pasting, Collage making, Dance, Races, Games etc. All these activities were planned keeping in mind the mental and physical disabilities of the children. Each of us selected one special child and we had to be with them in all the activities. We also invited our parents to visit that school during our activity time. This interaction impacted one of the parents that she decided to celebrate the birthday of her son with these special children. It was a surprise for all of us as the next day she brought cake, chocolates and fruits. After the activity we celebrated the birthday and had lot of fun.
We named the third day of our camp as “EACH ONE PLANT ONE” to make it more meaningful. So each of decided to bring a pot and a plant as it was not practically possible to plant the trees in the campus. We invited our headmistress, Rev. Sr. Bridget Mary as a Chief Guest of the day.
Next day was very different, there was joy, delight, smiles, giggles and laughter everywhere as we had laughter yoga as a highlight of the day. We did Birds Laugh, Balloon Laugh, Tractor Laugh, Belly Laugh, Mobile Laugh and Breathing Exercises.
Fifth Day we celebrated as “FRIENDSHIP DAY”. We had passing the parcel, lemon race, banana race and hat race. We had a mixed feeling as it was a second last day of our camp. Sr. Alfo, the In-charge of the school was so touched by our efforts that she told us that some of the parents of these kids wants to come and meet us. Our joy knew no bounds when she told us that even Archbishop Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert D’Souza was aware of our camp and will be coming on the concluding day to bless us all. So, we all decided to have a small exhibition of all the collages, drawings, clay moldings and thumb printings as well as we arranged a small cultural program for the finale.
Finally the day came when we had to part with them. But instead of feeling low we all were in high spirits as our Principal gave us permission to have 1 hour activity with our special friends every Saturday. Our parents were so much influenced and touched that they decided to gift Tri-cycles, cycles, swings, balls, blocks and soft boards for our special friends. Local channels and Print media also supported our cause. We all danced on the tunes of “Kho na jaye yeh………. Taare Zameen pe”.
Archbishop of Agra - Rev. Fr. Dr. Albert D’Souza
Giving doesn’t always means giving materialistic things. We can give love, joy and happiness. We can give smile to the lonely and rejected or a compliment. We can also give respect and dignity to all living beings. We can give new life to people by just listening to them, understanding them or motivating them which can make us truly happy. We students have gone through an enriching and amazing experience during this week. We were changed from young lads to responsible boys, can read what our special friends want to communicate with their eyes, feel their touch and can now understand their gestures. Truly, this is what we can call “JOY OF GIVING” with a heart full of “COMPASSION”.
“ What ever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me” Yes, this is what they were practicing in St. Alphonsa Institute for Especial Education. The Staff and students of St. Peter’s College, inspired by Rev. Fr. John Ferriera, organized the “Joy of Giving Week” from 26 th Sept ‘11 to 3 rd Oct ‘11. It was a matter of pride for all the students and teachers those who participated in this wonderful program. 3 rd Oct was kept as the concluding day as Cultural Fiesta. It was not just an another day. For the first time these differently abled kids performed on stage. The program began at 9:30am with a warm welcome to all. Our Archbishop of Agra Most Rev. Albert D’Souza, Rev. Fr. John Ferriera, Fr. Francis Vermbil, M. Flavia, many doctors, well wishers were present at this occasion. Let me express my gratitude to you teachers – Akansha Chadha, Neha Kakkar, Diksha Aswani, Ridhi Saigal, Nirmala Sarin and Renu clarance and students of St. Peter’s College for your keen interest, that you have taken to teach our little ones. A special thanks to Mrs. Akansha for organizing such a wonderful program for our beloved kids. Really our children enjoyed and they learned many things. Really it was attractive and excellent, dear students. The compassion and love you showed towards our little ones is really praise worthy. Really we are proud of our children for they proved that they are able to do something. Rev. Sr. Alfo Mathew
Teacher, St. Alphonsa School for Special Children
I am a proud mother and am very glad to share that the camp “COMPASSION” has brought about an evident change in my son. He has become more responsible, sensitive and considerate towards the plight of special children. He is now well acquainted by the fact that he must be thankful to God for being blessed with a sound body and mind. Mrs. Manjari Bansal, Mother, Aryaman Bansal III A, St. Peter’s College No doubt it was a unique experience my son is able to relate with the needs of these special children. He can feel the pain of being isolated. He became more sensitive, compassionate for everyone. I also visited the camp and noticed that a beautiful bonding of friendship and a sense of caring was growing. Mrs. Rhina Singh, Mother, Manan Singh VI D, St. Peter’s College
St. Peter’s College, Agra Principal - Rev. Fr. John Ferriera Headmistress - Rev. Sr. Bridget Mary Co ordinator - Mrs. Akansha Chadha Teachers Supported - Ms. Neha Kakkar Mrs. Diksha Aswani Ms. Ridhi Saigal Mrs. NirmalaSarin
Aryaman Bansal III B Aryann Chadda IV A Siddh Kapoor IV A Sushant Lawania IV A Dhruv Aswani IV B Prakhar Singhal IV C Jagtendar Indolia IV E Utkarsh Benara IV E Akshat Gupta IV F Avichal Jain IV F Puneet Ahuja V A Arbab Ahmad V B Khush Demla V C Mridul Tiwari V C Anvit Mathur V D Kalptaru Agarwal V D Sarthak Goyal V D Hrishabh Mishra V D Nipun Gupta V D Udit Chaudhary V E Dhruv Chopra V F Shivam Tiwari V F Shushrut Bhandari V F Vaibhav Chawla V F Manan Singh VI D Student Volunteers