We’re all proud of our kids, at some point or other. It’s not a big deal, really. In fact, it would be really odd if we weren’t ever proud of them. Some achieve great things, some less great but feel equally momentous. Either way, they are our kids and we find ourselves constantly marvelling at the way in which they navigate their way through life.
However, this blog post is not one of those: I’m so proud of my daughter and how she decided she wanted to get involved with those less fortunate. Certainly Not. What is this world if we don’t weigh in and support worthy causes – as well as help the blind man cross the road, dish up food for the hungry etc?
This blog post is about them; those children she and I met at Beit Issie Shapiro, while recently travelling around Israel. Adorable, endearing, courageous children who are fighting every day to take that one little step forward. To walk, to talk, to eat, to perhaps even express their thoughts; all those actions we take for granted are indeed a fight for them.
We toured the campus and marvelled at the excellent care and pioneering work the charity is carrying out. From the early intervention centre (from the age of 6 months) to aged 12 at the special education school, these children are given the best possible attention with the most advanced therapies possible.
Sophie spent time with Linoi that morning. Linoi is 12 years old and first arrived at the centre aged 6 unable to walk or talk. She was thrilled that Sophie was visiting and, after a few hugs and high 5s, they sat down together to enjoy a music class. It wasn’t long before Linoi was persuaded to dance and it was clear that the whole room of children with disabilities were having a ball. The professional team of caregivers and therapists (in most cases one-on-one) also appeared to be having the time of their lives, it seemed. Pure joy buzzed around the room and filled the centre. I caught Sophie’s eye and we read each other’s minds. What we had braced ourselves for: a tough morning of sorrow and pity – was utterly misjudged. The team at Beit Issie Shapiro and their dignified children were in fact showing us how they feel about changing attitudes in our respective communities and how we should view and regard anyone with any disability. Put simply, this organisation is breaking down those barriers to full social integration – hence the reason we were sitting there with them enjoying their fun.
And I’d like to think we can do more than simply observe. My girl has decided to train for a swimathon so that she can raise enough funds for the charity to purchase a new iPad and its accessories and to cover the cost of its therapeutic and recreational use by one child for one year (including work hours of therapists with the child).
The detour to Beit Issie Shapiro had always been the plan. But what you can’t plan is how you will feel afterwards. How much it has an effect on you and how much it makes you STOP and think and raise your hand to help. And that’s what makes me proud of her.