Article written by Evert, posted on his blog
It’s Lori, a festival originated from Punjab, where everywhere fires are lit, peanuts are eaten and children come past the doors singing and asking for sweets and rupees. All these festivals. Yesterday we joined a health-camp organized by SSA(*) in which Kanica and I were invited to act as doctor. We’ve checked about 30 children with mild to severe problems. The heavier the problems, the more often it appeared that little to no medical services have been rendered before. I don’t like these sort of camps much. It wrongly suggests that a single check-up and some wonder-medicine can cure a child’s disability. I am happy NGOs put efforts in effectively changing lives of children with disabilities.
One of these examples is Ketan, who has been provided with a wheelchair. He is so proud on his chair that he even polished it with the napkin he was wearing. Or Kirna, a 12 year old deaf girl, but extremely clever. After we’ve referred her for hearing assessment, it turned out that she is able to hear some tones. She will be provided with hearing aids, so that she might hear enough to finish her school.
That’s why I refuse to take the day off, in order to make it possible for Ketan to sing his songs during Lori, while being pushed past the houses in his wheelchair by Kirna, who soon will be able to hear what he is singing…
(*) SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan): The Scheme of SSA, a national flagship programme, is being implemented in all districts of the country. The aim of SSA is to provide useful and relevant elementary education for all children in the 6-14 age groups by 2010. The scheme of SSA was launched in 2001.
The programme covers the entire country with special focus on educational needs of girls, SCs/STs (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes recognized by the Constitution of India) and other children in difficult circumstances. The programme seeks to open new schools in those places which do not have schooling facilities and strengthen existing school infrastructure through provision of additional class rooms, toilets, drinking water, maintenance grant and school improvement grant. A number of initiatives, including distribution of free textbooks, target these children under the programme. The SSA also seeks to provide computer education even in the rural areas.