EDISON – Current Wardlaw-Hartridge junior Aryaman Nichani spoke to his Upper School classmates on the morning of May 24 about his many years of visiting Special School for the Severely Orthopedically Handicapped (SSSOH) in Chennai, India. He recalled first visiting the school with his grandfather at the age of 8 and has continued to visit the school to this day.
The school is a primary grade level school dedicated to providing an education to children who have lost a leg or an arm, or have brittle bone disease. These students are challenged not only by physical disabilities but many of them also have been abandoned by their own parents. Some parents have abandoned their own children because they have lost hope they will ever lead normal lives. Others have left their children because have no money to provide for them. Even worse, some parents have abandoned them simply because they are embarrassed by their child’s disability. The mission of the School is to “help prepare students to look beyond their disability and look forward to becoming confident and move ahead to be productive adults.”
Nichani shared a PowerPoint presentation from his recent trip to the SSSOH over spring break in March. He shared many moving stories about the children he showed in his presentation. Many members of the audience were touched by his direct and emotional review of the children he has meet and kept in touch with over the years. He recalled how one mother, who was being beaten by her husband and with no end in sight, took herself and her two boys to the railroad tracks and forced them to stand in the tracks. Tragically, the mother died and one boy lost a leg, while another lost an arm. The SSSOH exists to help make life a bit better for children who have these unbelievable challenges to lead any kind of a normal life.
Despite these issues and problems, the students at the school have positive and energetic attitudes. Nichani shared how these students “make the best of the little they have” and reminded his classmates that each of them should step back and think that life is not just about “getting the newest cell phone or the newest computer” but that it is also about caring and reaching out to those in need and “making a difference.”
In conclusion, Nichani said he hopes to continue to help the school and with a few dollars even the most basic supplies can make a difference. He gave examples of how simple medical supplies like knee pads or crutches can make the difference in getting around and help these people not have to crawl on the dirt floors and damage their skin. He said he hoped students would take time to be involved in any cause to give back and help others and invited those who are interested to reach out to him.
GIVING BACK … Aryaman Nichani of Scotch Plains begins his presentation on his experiences working with children who are severely orthopedically handicapped. (Photo by Bill Jenkins of Oldwick)
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