Sri Lanka has beautiful landmarks everywhere around the whole island. The waterfalls, rivers, mountains and the great religious monuments are an amazing sight for most of us. We experience many feelings and treasure memories by remembering the beauty of a certain moment. What we fail to realize is that there are so many others who doesn’t have this gift. To look at something and get inspired, to fall in love its all so hard for us to imagine without being able to see but that’s what makes it so amazing. The visually impaired has their own way of seeing their life. Yes, it’s a bit harder and we need to support them along the way. But everything they feel and hear mean so much more to them.
That is why the Rotaract Club of IIT initiated “Beyond Braille”, to see beyond just the visually impaired child, how he/she manages to get through the day without being able to see their own two hands and feet. The only way we could think of to get closer to them and to understand them was to go to Ratmalana Blind and Deaf school and to spend an entire evening with the children. Since most of them are from a Buddhist and Christian background we wanted to present them with something they have never experienced before, Thai Pongal. It was a huge festival that the Hindus celebrate in a grand scale and we wanted to bring it here. We were able to make the decorations, the usual food and of course the cooking of the Pongal.
We started off a bit rough but along the way we couldn’t have hoped for a better evening with these children. We had an amazing time with the children, starting off with the casual musical chairs, then it leading to singing songs and dancing. Afterwards to the part everyone wanted so badly, the food! The Pongal cooking and the essence taking to the air and spreading the amazing smell was completely making our mouths water.
We gave each of them a huge plate of the festival food and a small drink to keep them energized after all the games that we played. At the end of the session they were very happy with all the games and the food, It was truly a beautiful moment when some of them came to us and hugged us and told us to come next time as well. It makes all the hard work and the money we spent totally worth it. That was not the end of this project, we ended up with a whole lot more food than we thought we would, Hence we got all the remaining food and went on a food drive. Where we were able to spread the festive of Thai Pongal all over the area of Ratmalana. By the end of this project we were happy with how everything worked out and how we were able to support and understand them a little bit better.