Open the doors of your heart

My friend Saras runs a day care for disabled children and adults in Malaysia. Today she faces an eviction notice. The reason: two neighbours do not want the premisses to be used as a day care for special souls. My heart missed a beat when I heard this news as we too run a day care that is almost a clone to hers: in a residential area for children and adults between the age of 7 and 48. For them it is the only place where they can spend some hours being happy and accepted and loved and cared. It is the only place they can be who they are, and be appreciated for being who they are. In Saras' case the applicants have suffered nuisance throughout the day from 8.30 am to 5pm, Monday to Friday as a result of intolerable noise made by the special children as well as their attendants and carers and nuisance of experiencing the uncomfortable sensation of seeing the disabilities and sufferings of all the special children, the whole day, day in day out.

I am speechless and do not know what to say to such people. My first thought would be to tell them that not to tempt the fates as a special child can be born in any family, even theirs. What world do they live in and how can seeing a special child be viewed as a nuisance. They are the most precious children in the world. Actually we are the ones who are truly disabled and challenged as we do not have the heart to accept anyone who is different. They open their hearts to each and everyone who has the guts and ability to look at them straight in their eyes. And once they accept you they never let you down as they know not what treachery or betrayal means. It is we, the so called abled who master these emotions.

I pray Saras can save her centre.

It is no mean task. I have battled many demons to keep our centre going and even then it is has not been easy. If things had happened as I wanted them to and had people reached out and opened their hearts and purses, then the little girl in this picture could have lived her life in dignity. Sadly, for want of funds, we had to shut our residential centre and were unable to raise the funds for our own building. Radha who suffers from brittle bone disease - osteogenis imperfecta - and lives in a dark damp hole with 7 other people, could have lived in a happy and safe place. For the past weeks she has not been able to come to our centre as our leg has festered and she may have to face amputation if gangrene sets in. It is too difficult and excruciatingly painful to take a bumpy auto rickshaw ride every day and be carried up three flight of stairs to our centre. We are helpless and can only bring her some support in her home, but can not fill it with sunlight or laughter.

All the very special souls who come to our day care, come from homes where they are not cared for and yes they are noisy, and yes they look different but they have come to this world the same way we have and are entitled to everything we have, if not more. But more than anything else, they need our love, our acceptance and our protection. They are the truly children of God and not being able to open our hearts to them in tantamount to shutting our door to God.

It is time we opened the doors of our hearts wide and unconditionally.

Saras we are with you in your fight.