Former President of India and Father of Indian Missile Programme Dr APJ Abdul Kalam found himself in a peculiar dilemma, albeit momentarily, when he attended a function at Jeevoday Special School for Mentally Handicapped in Sadar on Tuesday (July 29) as a chief guest. When Dr Kalam was called to address the function, he started his speech with poignant words: “In what way should I address these special children?” But Dr Kalam, who faced many challenges in his life and overcame with aplomb, soon gathered his composure and the grace he is known for and started speaking with a prayer for the special children and their parents.
Dr Kalam enlightened the gathering and asked what we can do for these children and parents. He recited a prayer: “I am not alone. When God is with me, who can be against me.” Connecting with the parents of about 300 children, Kalam said that mind is stronger than diamond and with mighty will you can win. He asked the parents and teachers to make these children mentally and physically fit and active. “Parents and teachers should make lives of special children glorious and gorgeous,” Kalam said. “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see,” added the former President. He gave an example of a mother of special child in USA who through her continuous teaching and teaching without losing hope helped her child recover from his disability. “A mother understands what a child does not say,” Dr Kalam quoted.
Earlier during the function, Dr. Kalam was welcomed by the school band. He visited the computer training centre at Jeevoday. Dr Kalam was welcomed to newly constructed auditorium of the school with showering of flower petals and umbrella bearers. A prayer dance was performed by the special youngsters. Rev Fr Jerome Pinto welcomed Dr. Kalam by offering him a shawl and shreefal.
Other dignitaries who were given floral welcome by special children include Chairman of NIT Praveen Darade, Director (Personnel) WCL Rupak Dayal, former MLA Anees Ahmed, Principal Jeevoday Special School Sister Josna Mary and Rev Fr Jerome Pinto, Vice President Jeevoday Education Society.
Dr. Kalam also unveiled the building extension stone of Jeevoday Special School. He appreciated the good work done by the sisters of ASMI and quoted the prayer of their Patron Saint St Francis of Assisi.
The children also got an opportunity to have interaction with Kalam through Q&A during which a student of the school asked Kalam what he felt about them (special children), to which Kalam replied, “You are great and are God’s children with utmost confidence.”
Pravin Darade also spoke on the occasion. Ravikumar Surampally spoke on behalf of the parents. The function concluded with group photo on the stage with Kalam, staff of the school and the dignitaries.