Down’s syndrome doesn’t define these young, Israeli backpackers..!!

This was the headline that got my attention over everything else. I was busy glancing at the paper while sipping my Sunday morning tea. The title was catchy and for parents like me it was super motivating and encouraging. I quickly took out the single page where the news appeared and headed for my room, wanting to give it a good and thorough read.
This news piece was about a meeting between Israeli and Indian youngsters at India Gate and it was not any average cross-cultural exchange. Both groups primarily had individuals with Down syndrome!!
What made me happier was the fact that this headline was going to be read by millions of people across the country and if not all, some of them would start looking at Down syndrome in a new light and with less prejudice.

The affair concluded the Israeli delegation’s two-week long backpacking trip through India and also gave them a chance to interact with their friends from a different milieu.

Aimed at demonstrating the potential of people with intellectual disabilities, the interaction highlighted how with persistence and support our kids can become contributing members of the society.
What mattered to me most was the fact that these 11 young adults – all in the age group of 20-30 years- were accompanied by one of their siblings. How beautiful!! Just think about it? What an amazing sibling relationship these guys have that they are in some other country backpacking with their brothers or sisters and how many “normal” people we know who’d do it for the sake of their siblings. This is one fact that makes me really happy. The way our kids touch the hearts of people around them, be it their family, friends or even people they meet randomly.
This group enjoyed a picnic and played games. Bonded quickly and also spent time teaching each other some Hindi and Hebrew words.

What a Great news!! I want to picture Aarshia with a backpack telling me to relax when I will be a bundle of nerves sending her for a trip. These programs, excursions, meetings, cross cultural exchanges, these all are not just happening in one sphere, they are making the awareness happen at a much larger scale than we can do by other means.
We all need to make sure that such initiatives are taken more seriously and we as parents help making them happen.

What do you think?


Aarshia and Mama