Meet Antara Roy. A vivacious young girl, who always entertains everyone with her incessant chatter. You must try the cookies she bakes, absolutely scrumptious! She has this sparkle in her eyes when you meet her, and it is amazing to see how proudly she talks about becoming a chef.
My first encounter with Antara was during the theatre workshops in Muskaan, where she instantly started chatting with me, giggling all the while. Her ability to lead and step up for all the activities really fascinated me. To my delight, she is not the only one. I have come across many such pretty little wonders during my association with Muskaan, and their zeal to live life whole-heartedly offers so much to learn from. For many of you who are yet unaware of this small little universe, let me introduce you to Muskaan.
We are a voluntary organisation of parents and professionals, established in 1982. Today, we have grown into one of New Delhi’s premier institutes providing comprehensive education, vocational training and work opportunities to young people who are intellectually challenged. We offer support services to parents as well as raise awareness about the various issues surrounding people with intellectual disabilities. We also advocate for their rights.
Bustling with innocent laughter, we nurture a group of beautiful people who can be seen playing around, lost in their own dream world. These intellectually disabled people have much to offer in terms of a carefree attitude, a playful mood and strength that deserves an applaud.
Muskaan empowers children & young adults with special needs by offering them positive reinforcement to grow and learn with confidence and self-esteem. The NGO provides emotional and social stewardship to these young adults to develop their inherent skills and make them self sufficient. They organize many fun activities, wherein these young adults create some astounding works of art, candles, diyas, stationary items, different food items and what not!
It brightens me up to see how these young adults come with varied family backgrounds, environments and societies with their own different abilities; yet they have developed a close bond and are willing to learn. They have not given up, and are striving to fight.
Moreover, recently I had the privilege to meet some parents and all they had to share was how they drew strength from their children. One mother, wept softly while sharing her story of how her relatives look down upon her daughter, Anjali; but they have not been able to break her down as she is proud of the little girl who has only smiles to offer and joys to share.
These individuals are happy with their lives and more so ready to evolve into better beings. It is like a festive day in Muskaan every day. They jump around like jack-in-the-boxes and seem to be at peace with their imperfections. They teach you various things like celebrating the simple joys of life and being selfless. Yes, they do lack in certain ways, but then who doesn’t?
I grew up watching movies or shows that portrayed intellectually disabled characters in a grim light. Those black and white presentations with pony-tailed little girls staring blankly right back at us made me feel sympathetic towards them. However, after my close association with Muskaan, my perception has turned upside down. I pity those who look at them with sympathy because they simply don’t need it; support is what they seek.
Well, all I can say is that I am elated to be a part of their world and to have the opportunity of knowing such beautiful souls. They encourage me as a person to leave my tensions at home and step out with a smile. I urge all of you to extend a hand of friendship towards these young adults who can make you understand the true meaning of living life on your terms. They can teach you more about the miracles of life than any book or sermon. Get to know these lovely people at Muskaan, seek a friend in some of them and become a part of this delightful space.
For further details, please contact:
Mridula – 9811760960
Shanti Ji – 9891386995
Sector B, Pocket 2, Vasant Kunj
New Delhi – 110 070, India
Tel: 91-11-41761873 / 41761874