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Breaking shackles: Moving beyond the confines of disability

Posted on Mar 30 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, March 30 : Undeterred by the disability that is a part of his life, Vineet gleefully danced to singer Yo Yo Honey Singh's "High Heels". A member of NGO Handicapped Children's Rehabilitation Association (HCRA), Vineet, who has a missing arm, did not miss a single step and continued to lip-sync as well.

He was performing Saturday at the 7th Defying Disability-2014, an annual cultural fiesta that had many differently-abled students participating. All performances were greeted with roaring applause and cheers.

"Started seven years back, the event intends to inform the parents and our sponsors about the children's performances. It is also a platform to support these children and help build confidence," HCRA president Manju Bagga told IANS.

She added that it is essential to make people realise that these students are also "normal", and "as much part of society as we all are".

HCRA (www.hcra.org.in) has been working in the field of disability rehabilitation since April 2001.

Each year, close to 200 children from around 15 schools across the city participate in the cultural fiesta.

"If their confidence is built, there is a marked improvement in their academic performance also. It is essential for us to kill their inferiority complex and tell them that even they can do every work," Bagga stated.

As part of the programme, students gave solo dance performances on Bollywood numbers like "Daaru Desi", "Badtameez Dil" and "Lungi Dance". They also danced to various songs of Yo Yo Honey Singh, who seemed to be a favourite.

The children also participated in a fashion show, rangoli competition and skit.

"My son, Piyush, has dressed up as lord Ganesha for the fashion show. He faces a problem while walking. But such events help boost his morale to the hilt. It is essential for their all-round growth and development," said Savita Sharma, his visibly proud mother.

"He is interested in studies, and I am sure he will always fare well," she added.

Pitching in, another parent, Anita Sharma expressed regret that her son, Aryan, could not participate in the event.

"Aryan has Down Syndrome and is not keeping well lately. However, he is really interested in playing and dancing. Looking at other children perform here excites him," Sharma said.

"Yes, such programmes are extremely essential for helping special children boost their morale," she added.

However, according to Bagga, the parents were initially skeptical about such events.

"They have been extremely supportive lately, which was not exactly the case initially.

"The parents earlier used to think that such events are a waste of time, and did not understand the importance," she said.

"It is now encouraging and heartwarming to see them supporting their children whole-heartedly," Bagga added.

Garima Singh Rai, whose three-year-old daughter Shrija has Down's Syndrome, said she is attending the event to understand her daughter's interests.

"I am here to observe her and understand where her interests and inclination lie. But I would like to commend the efforts behind this vibrant cultural fiesta which also gives children the opportunity to interact with others.

"Many a time special kids remain confined to their environs by their parents and not provided with the opportunity to interact. Such events are always welcomed," she said, while her daughter applauded the performances.

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