Over the course of the semester we have all seen and experienced some pretty spectacular things. I worked on an organic farm for five days, saw the Taj Mahal, watched the sun rise on the Ganga, and stayed with an Indian family for a weekend, but I’ve been most inspired by the work I’ve seen various NGOs doing throughout the semester. One NGO in particular has stood out to me: Chingari.
One of Chingari’s many functions is to serve as a rehabilitation center for children who have mental and physical disabilities and birth deformities due to the Bhopal gas leak and water contamination tragedy. The rehabilitation center has only been around since 2008, but it has over 600 registered children and serves 180 children each day. The facility provides physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and special education.
The past two summers I have worked at a residential home for kids with special needs. The facility where I worked is called Faith, Hope, & Charity. I did direct care, which included everything that a resident does in a day from taking care of basic needs to taking kids on outings to places like the pool, park, or library. This summer job had a huge impact on my life. I became interested in disability and ableism, changed majors, and I am now considering a career working with children with special needs.
We visited Chingari twice while in Bhopal. Once when none of the children were there and once when everything was in full swing. Having the children there definitely made it come alive. We had the opportunity to interact with the kids there for a few minutes before they were rushed off to their next activity.
Before my experience working with kids who have a disability, I always thought of disability as a flaw—something sad and undesirable. Now I am able to think of disability as an experience, an identity, as diversity. When we stop pitying people who have a disability, we are able to recognize their humanity. Seeing the kids at Chingari and hearing of the work that is being done there filled me with hope.
Here’s the link to Chingari’s website:
Thanks for reading,