A Day Out with the Differently Abled
It was an exciting experience for the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) who took part in the House Boating leisure trip organized by Sathyam Ministries on 22nd December this year. There were around 30 PWDs and their caretakers. It is an annual leisure trip conducted by our organization, free of cost.
Sathyam Ministries conduct such trips for the persons with special needs, not as part of charity but as a therapy to get them closer to nature as well as to enhance their social skills. It is scientifically proven that leisure trips increase individuals’ life satisfaction. Some have barriers to their mobility, but that doesn’t stop them, they were super thrilled to have this opportunity to go on trip with others who share similar issues like they do. This house boating experience also gave them a chance to communicate or socialize with others. There were several people who had never been on a leisure trip with other persons with special needs. This was a whole new experience for many.
The journey began from Sathyakoodaram, the Head Quarters of Sathyam Ministries in Thiruvalla. The special needs persons were accompanied by their care takers. There were members of certain Associations for the differently abled and there were also individual invitees. The boating was through the Punnamada backwaters in Alleppy, Kerala. (Punnamada Lake, also called Punnamada Kayal is one of the elements of Vembanad backwaters, which is known as the longest lake in India and it’s a popular tourist spot). Dr. C.V Vadavana, the Founder and Chairman of Sathyam Ministries, blessed the group going on for the trip.
Mr. Prince, Ms Janet and Mr Allichen were part of the same association for the PWDs and are suffering from Polio since childhood. Mr Allichen said “I was not even capable of standing on my own feet. Therapies helped me to walk with the help of a crutcher now. See, now I can walk, and it has even enabled me to go for this trip as well”. He was there for a similar leisure trip organized by our organization previously.
Persons with Disabilities from Kayamkulam, Ranni, Vechoochira, Pampady etc. They were all excited to be part of this trip. Mr. Manoj from Kayamkulam, suffered a Viper bite in 2021 which led to the amputation of his left leg from above knee and is now a handicapped. He was working as a safety officer in Saudi Arabia for fifteen year but is now unemployed due to his disability. He finds this trip as his opportunity to network with others who are experiencing similar fate as his. Some of them are differently abled since childhood, whereas some are accidently made disabled. There were persons with Down Syndrome and burns too, as well as from different age groups from children to older adults who are differently abled.
Their barriers to participate in such a trip were their lack of awareness and lack of availability of their care takers. It is also an eye opener in the tourism sector as there are few disable friendly tourism projects or any elements of tourism that supports the PWDs. They were glad to take part in this trip. Some benefits of leisure trip for PWDs are that it can be considered as a first step for getting out of their comfort zone, evidence-based studies show that traveling improves their social skills, and travel promotes brain health. At Sathyam Ministries, we believe that the differently abled should never be left alone, we stand to promote inclusiveness of the differently abled and to help them enjoy the privileges of the able bodied.