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Youth Talk: Incredible India

Philip Decu is in the eighth grade at Shanghai Rego Internation School. In this column, he shares with us details about his recent trip to India where he volunteered at a school for children with cerebral palsy.

Well… where should I start? Maybe I should tell you that on this trip I had touching and wonderful experiences that I would never have encountered had I stayed at home. My experience in India was simply breathtaking.

In India I saw so many amazing and intense colours, like nothing I have ever seen before. There were also aromas everywhere. Some food was scented so strongly that I could taste it just by smelling it. Everything we experienced was somehow more intense than in other places. A music performance we visited lasted over two hours and the improvisations had the effect of lulling the mind into a dream.

But the most overwhelming part was Deepti. Deepti School gives children with cerebral palsy a place where they are seen as one of us and not just some kid with a disability. The school helps these children to learn and develop when no one had hope for them. We worked with the children using musical instruments, art and play, which they really liked. This helped the children to loosen up in a fun and relaxing way rather than being painfully forced or bent into position.

We found out that one of the kids was calmed by the music. When we were not playing any music he would scream and shout, but when we started to sing a song together or someone played the xylophone or guitar, he would relax and slowly become still. It was fascinating to see what music can do for children with cerebral palsy.

Most of our activities were leading up to one big performance called ‘The Golden Reed Flute’. The children were strongly supported by their mothers in preparation as well as at the performance. Over 400 guests attended the performance and everyone was amazed because no one was sure if it would all work out in the end – but it did. Some people were even crying with joy.


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