New Delhi, Aug.15 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee interacted with special children of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in an event organised at Rashtrapati Bhavan to mark Independence Day on Thursday.
Addressing the gathering, Mukherjee said children with special needs are as good as any other provided we give them support and opportunities.
"They need to be treated with sensitivity and empathy. They are fully capable of proving their competence. Every child is an abode of God and special children are no different. We must have the belief that every person is capable of learning and becoming better at whatever he chooses to do if he is given those opportunities," he said.
He added that the government is working hard towards creating equal opportunities for differently abled people, but citizens must also work in tandem and support the government in its efforts
Addressing parents, Mukherjee said they were not alone in their struggle, and the whole of Rashtrapati Bhavan would be with them in their efforts to bring up their children.
He expressed understanding for the difficulties and struggle parents go through in bringing up differently-abled children.
The President said he would like the Rashtrapati Bhavan to be a model community in terms of caring for children and adults with special needs, and thereby, setting an example to the rest of the country.
He said he would like the Rashtrapati Bhavan to be an example of peace, harmony, friendship and togetherness.
The President's Secretary, Omita Paul, said the president's interaction with special children of Rashtrapati Bhavan was the beginning of a modest and humble effort to recognize the presence of the special children in the community and collectively address some of their needs.
This was the first time an initiative of this kind was being taken, she said, adding that the president would like the Rashtrapati Bhavan to be a community which is aware of the differently abled people in its midst and which seeks to empower them in order to improve the quality of their life.
The plan therefore is to progressively build programmes and facilities that will help achieve this goal, she added.
A "Respite Care Centre" where professionals will take care of Special children is being set up. Effort would be made to ensure that every child of the school going age attends school and receives appropriate education. Workshops and training for parents/families that have children with special needs would be organized for the support of parents.
A "Social Club" where adults or young adults with special needs can meet in an organized manner from time to time to do some activity like watching films, etc. would be also initiated. (ANI)