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Sunday, 21 July 2013

Education for differently abled through art, dance therapy : New Delhi

For differently-abled people, the the need to constantly fit into society often seem to overide the pain and mental agony, which goes with being born with a physical deformity.

However Syed Sallauddin Pasha, an exponent of Kathak, yoga, martial arts and Bharatanatyam, firmly believes that a combination of arts can be used effectively in therapeutic education to teach and empower people with special abilities.

Pasha, the artistic Director, Ability Unlimited Foundation, a non governmental organisation, trains special children through a culmination of music, dance yoga colour and rhythm therapy, stresses on the importance of art as a medium of healing.

20-year-old polio afflicted Gulshan Kumar, who holds a Guinness World Record for attempting the maximum, 63, spins in a wheelchair in a minute says Pasha's method of education through therapy has worked wonders.

"I wanted to challenge myself. I don't believe that being physically handicapped merit for only making paper bags or candles. We have a cricket team of wheelchair ridden people. We have participated in many competitions. I also drive my own bike," says Kumar who was diagnosed with polio as a nine-month old.
Kumar is a student at the just launched first-of-a-kind therapeutic education centre, which currently runs at Muhiddinpur Dabarsi village in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh and offers offers diploma courses in diverse subjects ranging from sign language to choreography.

Pasha has been training such students in dance and theatre for past 30 years and his professional dance-theatre troupe, which features wheelchair-bound performers have staged performances in places like the House of Commons in London.

"Art works on the micro cosmic cell of the human body. We have a rich tradition of dance, music and yoga that can be used to heal people. When people see my students performing so brilliantly, they forget that they are differently abled," says Pasha.

Pasha's centre spread over a 6,000 sq-foot area has the capacity to cater to 150 differently-abled students. The self sustainable therapeutic centre is run on solar energy and has an organic farm, round-the-clock water and a hostel.

"To make formal education a fun learning experience chapters of English, Hidi and social science will be taught through dance, music and drama whereas music will be taught through dance and sign languages," says Pasha.

According to estimates 1.67 per cent of the 0-19 population in India has a disability, while 35.29 percent of all people living with disabilities are children.

Gulshan says he sees an improvement over time in the attitude of the people.

"I feel there is increased awareness now and more sensitivity with which people deal with differently able people. Many malls and banks have made ramps for people with disabilities. Buses now stop for us at the stops," he says.

Source : Economic Times Via P.T.I , 19th July 2013 

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