Dancing to Bollywood numbers, talking against corruption, raising their voice for the girl child, around 30 children with special needs wowed the audience at an event here. As one of them put it - their 'I can' was better than the IQ of others!
"People call us special kids, but do we really need to be treated like this?" asked Shreyan Verma, one of the students who participated in the cultural programme Tuesday.
"We are not blessed with something extraordinary, so why such words.
"We are equal if not better or less than normal kids and this we can proove with our will and passion. I would definitely want to say that our 'I can' is better then your IQ. Treat us like normal kids and we will touch the sky," he added.
Some had a speech disability, some a hearing impairment, and yet others had physical disorders. But they delivered enthusiastically and beautifully.
While one girl danced to the film number "Mere dolna", a group performance saw the kids dancing to the "Boogie woogie" song. Others spoke confidently on issues like the fight against corruption and the rights of the girl child.
The children were part of Sanchetna, a centre for students with special needs.
It is a joint endeavour between Billabong High International School and Integrated Education Rehabilitation Sansthan (IERS), that organised the cultural programme at the school venue here.
"These kids are far more confident and better than other normal kids. They lack a platform where they are given training and this is what we are trying to do. Billabong is the first school in Delhi where these special kids are given academic training along with normal kids under the same roof," said Joysree Mukherjee, general secretary and one of the directors of Sanchetna.
Dimple Anil, principal of Billabong school, said they follow a certain process before sending the children for regular schooling.
"We take students in Sanchetna first and and within three months, after observing them, we shift them students to the normal department. We integrate their faculties depending on language, speech therapy, mind and body coordination. We do not take them into academics immediately," said Anil.
To equip the children with technical skills, Sanchetna had invited Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to impart vocational training to the children.
"India has shown drastic growth in the past few years and keeping this in mind we have contacted the government in India to organise such events," Yoko Nakabo, programme coordinator of JICA, an independent governmental agency which assists in economic and social growth in developing countries, told IANS.
"These cross-cultural activities not only make the bond strong between India and Japan but also gives a platform to special kids to get an exposure of the outside world and build confidence in them," he added.
The event was graced by alumni of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Malti Goel, president of JICA Alumni Association of India (JAAI), WHO feels despite the inclusive policies of Indian education, many schools were not following it.
"The ministry of human resource development is in the process of developing a Comprehensive Action Plan on Inclusion in Education of Children and Youth with Disabilities," Goel said.
"There are many roles and responsibilities which come under this category, including the participation of special schools and special educators but there are many schools who are not taking it seriously. With JICA showing their interest, I am sure this will change in days to come," she added.