How do you deal with children having special needs? A modest tribute to the work of the Missionaries of the Poor
By Carlos A. Arnaldo with Ysa Charvet and Drishti Manghnani
May 14, 2016
As part of the college course, Life and Works of Rizal, I ask my students to undertake an outreach project, teaching their skills to high school dropouts or young adults, visiting the street children in Manila, or one of the many children’s centers in the metropolitan area.
I’ll let the students tell you the story!
“Last May, I was given the chance to be reminded of how lucky I am to live the life I’ve been blessed with. Usually, Sunday is a family day for my family, but they too, share the same love I have for outreaching to the needy, so they supported me 100%. One thing that didn’t support me at all was my own body that day, as I was experiencing diarrhea! I thought it through a couple of times, but finally decided that I would take the chance and go to the outreach. Equipped with some Gatorade and my determination, I set forth to San Andres, Bukid, which surprisingly, after getting lost for a few minutes with my friend Sam Po, was not that far away from home.” --Ysa Charve
“When I heard in my Rizal class that I’d be able to participate in an outreach project to needy and disabled children, I was really overjoyed. The first kids we met were very sickly and some were disabled. They couldn’t move their arms or legs, and could hardly move their heads. Nor could they speak much, but they were so glad just to see us there, interacting with them, the smiles on their faces were simply priceless. Later on, we were asked to meet some kids from the squatter neighborhood and when we played games and interacted with them, it was a surreal feeling of joy when you saw how happy they were to play simple games or just even speak to you! We were even able to teach them games they didn’t know and they ended up loving the games so much and of course with that, came merienda and offering some prizes, which brought big smiles to their faces.” –Drishti Manghnani
“We didn’t know what to expect at the community center, we had little information about their background as victims of cerebral palsy. But when we met the kids, we were instantly at ease because they made us feel welcome by offering us seats so we could be comfortable! We started a game of Bingo so everyone would feel easy with each other, and in no time, everyone was deeply involved in the game, even me! I started by leading the game, then helping the kids hit Bingo. During the last round of the game, I tried to make it more interesting and interactive, asking the kids themselves to draw the numbers from the plastic bottle. They enjoyed this idea and got excited when it was their turn to draw.”
“There is something really satisfying for me in giving to the people who are in need, because they are so welcoming, friendly, and they show you that they really appreciate you. I really like doing it with kids, especially, because they are playful and innately enthusiastic and they constantly remind you that they are very appreciative of everything you are doing.”
“After Bingo, we served a merienda of pansit na bilao and soft drinks. Prof asked us to help him bring some plates of pansit upstairs to the disabled children.
“While the other Ates were helping the kids to sit up and eat, one Brother sought my friend Sam to help feed one of the kids. I saw that Sam was uncomfortable, as she too never experienced working with special kids, but then I saw that she was eager to do her best. Another Brother pulled me and my other friend, Cheska to feed the kids that I first saw when we arrived. Brother said his name was Michael so I said hello and introduced myself to him. Unlike the other kids on the dining room, Michael had a difficult time standing up and controlling his limbs, so I really didn’t know what to do and how to feed him, so I just watched Brother as he took care of Michael and realized that it was not really hard to, he just needed more care and attention. I was a bit sad that I wasn’t able to help Michael eat, but I felt lucky that I would know what to do next time. Prof and my other classmates came to pick up me and Cheska from that room and said that it was time to go. Sam shared that she was proud that she was able to feed one of the kids in the dining room and I was really happy for her.
“As we were about to leave, the kids in the playground wanted a picture with us so we took a couple, and when it was finally time to leave, the kids started shouting ‘bee-bye’ as their bye to us and some even chased after the car to say ‘thank you.’
“Do you know that what a man can do, a woman can do better?” The lady at the podium said it loud and clear. She surveyed the audience with a captivating, charismatic smile. There was an equal representation of the sexes. The women clapped cheerfully. The men could only smile, while a few shook their heads disapprovingly....
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