Taking a break from regular school and everyday routine, special children and adults of all ages had fun and frolicked in the grounds of Canara High School, Dongerkery, on Sunday.
Asha Jyothi, a forum for persons with special needs and their caregivers, had organised the annual mela for the children. There were games, rides and snack stalls. The inflated slide, Ferris wheel and the merry-go-round appeared popular as many children ran to them first and some were seen going for it multiple times. Another draw was the joyrides on camel and horse. Gaurav, a class 4 student of Roman and Catherine School for the Blind, who was carefully counting to see how many coupons he had left to spend, said, “I liked the camel ride the best.” Many children were fascinated by the clowns and were seen shaking hands with them. When the fire department personnel did a demonstration of rescue operation, at least five to six children ran into the water and got completely drenched.
The fair started with music by a drummer and a flautist. After a few minutes, they stopped. One child was seen asking the drummer why he had stopped the music. Mane Hiremath from Chetana School, in a wheelchair, was at the food stalls and said he enjoyed eating a piece of watermelon. Rajani, Shyamala and Linnas were enjoying themselves at the snack stalls. Rajani said, “Everything is nice.”
Not all children enjoyed themselves. Some were upset by the noise and movement. For instance, the mother of one child from Chetana School was heading home. She said her son did not eat or participate in any game. She said, “the inflated slide was full of bumps, which upset him.” Amitha, mother of another child, was seen comforting her little daughter who had just come down the slide. She said, “She doesn’t like it because there are older children.” She said she wished there had been two sections, one for older and one for younger children.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan had set up a stall at the fair for the first time this year.
Muralidhara Nayak, president, Dakshina Kannada District Disabled Persons Association, said that the association had set up a stall at the fair with all information on various programmes schemes, aids, appliances and pensions by the Central and State governments for people with disabilities at the venue. “We are giving the forms also here,” he said.