The start of something new

The start of something new

In the summer of 2010 together with a friend, I visited one of CARE’s first projects in Gujarat. Here is a report we put together to share our life-changing journey with everyone back home, together with a short documentary.

We spent two weeks at the Navchetan Andhjan Mandal Centre in Madhapar, Bhuj. During the two weeks, we visited all four of their centres and were very impressed with the way they accommodate for individuals with various types of disabilities and abilities, together with the fact that the centres have a barrier free environment which enables the students to move around independently and freely without assistance.

“disability is not inability”

We’ve heard about charities doing similar projects but to see it in action was a whole new eye opener. We thought that the unique concept of students of all disabilities learning together was incredible, helping the children understand that having disabilities do not make them any less gifted than those without.

Before we visited the centre we had done some research into the charity and about the school but it was still something very different and new to us. We didn’t really know what to expect when we arrived there or what it would be like. However it didn’t take us long to settle in and adapt to the new environment. The staff and teachers were always very friendly and happy to help. The children made us feel very welcome and would never fail to smile, call us and wave every time they saw us around the school.

Our main aim for visiting the centre was to share some of our skills and knowledge with the students of the school and teach them something new. We chose to teach them English to enable them to have basic conversations and improve their reading and writing skills. We used colourful creative presentations to make learning more fun and enjoyable for them. During the time whilst we were not teaching, we volunteered to take professional photographs and videos of the students at the centres and the activities the organisation runs. We wanted to document everything we did to show everyone back home as well as globally and share part of our experience with them. Therefore we have created a 10 minute documentary film which highlights the four centres and the different activities they run and captures the special talents these students hold.

Overall it was an amazing experience and has taught us a lot, not just about how talented and special these children are but also about the way they appreciate even the smallest things that we take for granted every day. Every time we saw them they never failed to have a big smile on their face and it made us realise that no matter what difficulties you may have to face there is always a brighter side to life. Interacting, talking and playing with the children opened up a whole different world and listening to their experiences really showed us a different side of life.

We enjoyed every moment of our trip and would definitely visit again and encourage others to do the same too because it was a wonderful opportunity and experience with lots to learn from.

If you are interested in doing something similar, contact and get involved.