Walk through their world of creativity

By Tahnee Hopman, Pix by Athula Devapriya

A simple task like threading a needle can prove to be a six- month challenge for some of these children.
Yet, they have been giving their all towards an exhibition of everything that inspires them in their world.
Aptly named ‘Our World’, the upcoming exhibition is the thirteenth in a series of annual exhibitions by the students of Daya Mina, Supem Uyana and Meth Mihira.

The brightly coloured evidence of their hard work lay around the corners of their work place. Despite the challenges that inhibit them, they all agree that working towards the exhibition and seeing the end results is worth all the trouble.

“Apart from the pleasure of seeing their hard work being appreciated, the exhibition is also an excellent chance for parents to come together and discuss certain issues, so overall it is a very beneficial venture,” said Sr. Virginia Daniel, Principal of Daya Mina, a school for differently abled children and youth established in 1989 by the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary.

The Congregation of the Sisters of Charity was founded in Belgium in 1803 by Fr. Joseph Triest whose mission was to remedy the evils society inflicted on the differently abled. He is best known for having inspired others to join in his effort to care for, educate and uplift those neglected by society after the French Revolution.

The Sisters of Charity came to Sri Lanka in 1896 with the sole objective of educating young girls, and established their first convent in Galle. Over a hundred years later, they run three centres which cater to the needs of special children and gratefully acknowledge the generosity of donors and well-wishers that enables them to continue in their work with the children.

The work includes giving children the confidence and skills they need to cope with the world around them. “It’s all about giving them dignity and a measure of self- assurance that they have much to offer society,” says Sr. Virginia.

This is not always easy. One of the biggest challenges is that in this case, development is slow. “It’s a slow process- the education of these children,” explains Sr. Virginia. “You have to learn how to recognize progress and applaud it, however slow it is.”

Anyone dropping in at the St. Lawrence’s Church Hall on November 28 (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and on the 29th (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) will see the results of the hard work and persistence of the students. Proceeds from the exhibition will go towards the maintenance of the three centres.

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