We can honestly say that we don't know what we would do without our brothers and sisters in our lives. They are our best friends, our only non-stop source of entertainment, our biggest cheerleaders, and undoubtedly reliable partners in crime. The impact of sibling on everyone’s life is enormous.
One of the biggest things that siblings provide us with is friendship. They are amongst our best companions on the journey called life. A younger sibling's first steps, the fighting that occurs between two brothers or sisters and the leg pulling that siblings do to each other is something that can be only felt and cherished forever. We couldn’t even imagine our lives without those sweet and ever lasting memories. They allow you to do and experience things that would be impossible without them. A sibling can be just like a teammate! They teach us how to solve problems, how to be generous, selfless and most importantly, they teach us joy of sharing.
Researchers have ascertained that siblings of children with disabilities play a key role in their social and language development. Siblings are their first social network. A child with disabilities is likely to be more open to their sibling than their parents, and most likely to have a lifelong relationship with their brother/sister, going well beyond the parents’ years. Keeping in mind the huge impact of sibling on these gifted kids, these siblings would need more information that would prepare them dealing with issues that their sibling is going through and how they might need to support them in future.
With the aim to get together all the siblings of our children and to create awareness regarding the role of sibling bonding for the kids’ overall development, we organized one function based on theme of “Siblings Day” at Handimachal on 26th June 2017 on the holy occasion of Eid-al-Fitr. The event was a resounding success, with a huge number of our children, their family and sibling turning up. Various dignitaries like Mr.Yunis Khan (DC, Kullu), Mrs. Kalpana Thakur (Mrs. India,2017) and Krishna Thakur, the famous Thanka Artist, were present and Ms. Dominique Dufau, founder of this organisation, came all the way from France to attend the function. In addition, special guests with needs similar to our children’s, like the Shankh Band from Manali, and Suraj and his wife were also invited, in order to inspire the children and make them understand that what defines them and what they will achieve in life isn’t their disabilities, but their hunger and enthusiasm for all that life has on offer.
The program started with series of activities and performance by many leading artists and by our loving kids. We all know how much kids love activities, and how children are known to be more naturally artistic and creative. They provide children a way to express themselves and their emotions. The first activity started was “Hand Imprinting”. The hands of kids and their sibling were dipped in various vibrant colours and were imprinted on paper. The children seemed to thoroughly enjoy the activity, trying their best to make best painting out of it and trying their best to be future Leonardo Di Vinci (ha ha!). Kids can be really funny sometimes.
We then engaged in an activity of “Music and Dance therapy” in order to help our child to develop better relationship with peers, while enabling deeper social interactions. The songs were being played and all the kids were following the dance steps on the song showed by one of our therapists. Every kid was trying to be a dancer that day, copying each and every step with ease, lip singing the lyrics with ample enthusiasm.
Musical games like passing the ball were also being played, and every kid was eager to get the ball quickly as possible and were seen giving the ball to their siblings, showing us the beautiful bond of sharing and team work.
Then came the master of all the activities, ”Parachute activity and Games”. It was a delightful scene watching the kids moving the parachute up and down and hopping and sliding on it and playing with it. Even though they are small, they can teach us many things like how to live in moment and keep the kid alive inside us. No doubt, we can learn so many things from them. Kids are delight to watch while playing.
There was very impressive song and poem performances by many of our kids and their siblings, such as Charu and her sister Shaivi, Nivisha and her brother and cousins, and Nidhi and her brother, emphasizing the love and unbreakable bond between siblings.
At the end of the day, as the tired, yet elated children headed back home, some holding their sibling hands, others leaning on them for support, it was impressed upon us that, a fulfilling relationship with siblings is more of a blessing than many of the friendship than we will ever know.
We, the Handimachal team, strongly believe that, holding a hand is a promise to one another that, for just a moment, the two of us don’t have to face the world alone.
Namrta Singh, Physiotherapist volunteer
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