Love lights up the day for special kids

NAGPUR: Celebrating love took myriad forms on the occasion of Valentine's Day. It on an entirely different hue at St Ursula high school grounds on Monday as a sea of differently abled children was soaked in the spirit of sportsmanship.

To make the day more special for the most special children, Rotary Club of Nagpur arranged a sports carnival for them. With a huge participation of around 600 children from 42 schools from in and around the city, the event did manage to fulfill its aim of spreading love, surpassing physical and mental disabilities.

The races and the games were modified to allow the children to participate and perform. Along with shot put, a similar game with a soft ball was arranged for smaller children. Competitions like spot jumping, race on wheelchair and a race allowing the use of crutches also formed a part of the event. Across different categories, more than hundred sporting events took place. The arrangements were made to be as user-friendly as possible. Even the directions for the various games and other instructions were directed towards the teachers.

"At most such sporting meets, some typical events are organized. The arrangements, too, are not as good as they are here, with some packaged food given away for the sake of it. Never have I been to an event of this magnitude with so many special children around. The students are periodically being served juices, sherbets, fruits. Though most of these children are unable to express themselves, I can say by the look on their faces how happy they are," said Prashant Palkandwar, a special educator from Sant Vittukbaba Mentally Retarded Girls' and Boys' School, who came with his students from Takalghat for the event.

One such face was that of 8-year-old Zeba. Lit up completely even while recounting the events of the day, this little girl from Rashtramata Manovikas Akshaya Kendra, spoke of the fun she had while playing soft-ball and running around. It was touching to see the Rotarians serving food and drinks, clearing tables, picking up the soiled plates and even cleaning the tables all by themselves while serving batch after batch of children and teachers.

"Credit must also be given to participating schools and Zilla Parishad, who took pains to bring the students here from far away places in the city early in the morning. Despite difficulties faced by them and us, the fact that the children are so happy is enough to say we have succeeded in our endeavour," said Manish Bhati of Rotary Club.