Sangath to promote special children’s art in 


commemoration of International Day of Persons with 


Disabilities 


The NGO Sangath has joined hands with Colorcon Asia Pvt Ltd Verna to showcase the artistic abilities of children with disabilities. The art exhibition cum sale is a means of making the larger community aware that having disabilities does not need to relegate such people to oblivion. These are persons with talents, even at par with artists without disabilities.


The art exhibition and sale of artwork by special children will be held at the Carpe Diem Art Gallery in Majorda on the 11th, 12th and 13th of December 2019 to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). Colorcon Asia Pvt Ltd, Verna has been supporting this annual programme for the last four years.  


Sangath is an organisation that has worked for over 20 years in the field of mental health and developmental disabilities in children and adolescents. For some years now, it has been celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities to educate people about the rights of people with disabilities. 


The art on display has been created by over 50 special children from the different schools in Goa with the proceeds of the sales going back to the children and the schools. Having the exhibition in a prominent art gallery is meant to highlight the value of the work produced by these children and the fact that this art is indeed to be taken seriously. 

The United Nations theme for this year ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’ is in line with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016. Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, replaced the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, which listed only seven disabilities. The new Act lists speech and language disability, specific learning disability, etc.


There is a focus on making education inclusive and accessible to all persons with disabilities. Percy Cardozo, Project head, Sangath, said, ‘We should feel proud that the provisions of the Act have been notified for Goa. What remains is speedy implementation of the schemes. We at Sangath work primarily with children with slow developmental skills, so we work a lot in education. Our programme (Beyond Boundaries) based in the south focuses on inclusive education.’ She also said that a new survey to identify persons with disabilities is needed because the last census of 2011 did not identify NDDs, or neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism. Early detection and intervention is the best way to ensure these children obtain the treatment and help suited to them.


Percy Cardozo suggested early intervention centres at village level or, at least, a team of people at the primary health centres who are trained to identify babies at risk and provide relevant care, and educate the parents to care for such children.


Aside from sensitising people on accepting and caring for children with NDDs, there needs to be a plan to address the anxiety of parents of children in mainstream schools who fear that special children will be a source of disturbance and that the disabilities may infect their own children or cause them to adopt similar behaviours.


An ideal situation of inclusive education would allow most children with disabilities to transition to mainstream schools which would be equipped in every way to aid and educate them. Special schools would still play an important role, perhaps as resource centres for mainstream schools, as early intervention centres and/or skill training centres.


Sensitisation of institutions of higher education and the employment sector is essential in order to generate spaces of acceptance of young people with disabilities, who pass out of special or mainstream schools only to face obstacles in these areas. 


The exhibition will begin with the inauguration at 11am on Wednesday, the 11th of December 2019. It will be open to the public from 11am to 7pm from the 11th to the 13th of December.  The second day of the exhibition will see Rudi D’Silva, an artist from Colva, sharing experiences, and there will be an interactive session for artists at 11am.