We all have friends. But have you ever wondered how someone with special needs copes? Well, you need not worry! Here’s a tale that shatters the myth that those with special needs cannot connect fully with the world of friendship. In fact, this heartwarming story will change your perceptions of friendship.
We, at SAI Connections, had the privilege of hosting a special event on 25th of July, when two members of the 6 Pack Band, Ananya and Anjali, joined our students along with other friends!
After making headlines last year with India’s first-of-its-kind transgender 6 Pack Band, Brooke Bond Red Label, in association with Y films, has now launched 6 Pack Band 2.0 consisting of kids with special needs to kickstart a journey of acceptance and inclusion.
In their third song, titled The Isspeshal Yaari Song, the young adults with special needs alongside playback singer Neha Kakkar, speak about their struggle to find that one special friend willing to go the extra mile for them and just accept them for who they truly are.
And it was to celebrate this spirit of friendship that we decided to host this event and help open conversations about how friendship could be the first step in the inclusion of every child with special needs.
In one room, students Vishal and Viji, along with their new friends, put together a sumptuous ‘black chana chaat’ – sharing the responsibility of preparing the chaat and enjoying it together. It was finger licking good!
As was the ‘corn chaat’ created by Shraddha and Varsha. Everyone who tasted it vouched for it!
The art room was a flurry of activity. Music in the background, canvases laid out, paints and brushes were strewn all over- what a way to bond and relax.
The aroma of freshly baked cupcakes wafted from the baking room. Who could resist this? Our students Rishi and Aashni along with Ananya and Anjali baked and decorated the cupcakes!
The cupcakes didn’t even reach the guests! They were quickly gobbled down by the participants – straight out of the oven.
Wi Fitness and Computer activities were another area of connection. The students and band players experimented with various games on iPads, computers and the gaming station.
Take a look at the smiling faces.
“I liked the theme of the event- Friendship. It’s universal. That’s what the event showed us. Every human being likes to meet and interact with others. It was wonderful to watch our students who were very comfortable with total strangers not only joining them in various activities but also interacting with them in their own way and sharing their space and food with them,” said Viji Srinivas a parent.
As human beings, we have an innate need to connect with others.
Being social creatures, we seek interactions with other human beings. With friends, we can truly be ourselves and let our hair down, thanks to deep bonds based on openness, trust, acceptance, honesty and sincerity.
When bonds of the heart are close, time and place are not deterrents. That’s why even if we meet a friend after a length of time, we pick up from where we left off.
It’s time to address your queries about friendships with people with special needs. Let me repeat the questions at the beginning of this article.
Do you worry that those with special needs do not have friends?
You need not worry anymore!
This wonderful event allayed all my fears too. It reinforced my belief that individuals with special needs are different, but not less in any way. In those few hours, each of us let go of our own barriers too. We connected with each other and made wonderful friends over art, music and food.
And a cup of Chai.
Most people fail to realise that these kids have the same potential to be friends with other kids their age. Accept that kids with special needs are different, just as all individuals are different from each other. The idea is not to ostracise them but to celebrate this difference and accept them, regardless. In fact, these kids are far more. They love and laugh without inhibitions. They don’t have barriers in their hearts or minds. And it is some of these things that we should keep in mind and extend a hand of friendship to children with special needs.
(Written by Kamini Lakhani)
Contact Sai Connection at:
Sterling Center, Bank of India building, Opposite Cardinal Gracias school, Subhash Nagar, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra- 400051
Phone numbers- 9137074707/9137051989, 022-26426066