RAJKOT, Nov 25: Former Miss India and actor-turned-educationist Swaroop Sampat is on a mission to develop life skills in children with learning disabilities and pitching hard to create awareness among people about the disability in children.
Her third workshop on 'life skills' at a small village called Rajpur, near Gandhinagar, concluded recently and was attended by 50 kids from across the state. "This was our third workshop at the same village and we could see that our efforts are worth it as some changes were noticed in behaviour of children during the workshops. Some children have participated in all the workshops over the last three years. I am getting encouraging feedback from parents and teachers of the students who attend the 10-day shibir," she said.
"The life skills workshop of Sampat provides the child an opportunity to express him or her without any inhibition. The child should be able to express her feelings freely and she has done a great job in that regard. Ideally, these things should be taught by teachers at schools. I could see that my daughter learnt a lot from it,'' said Hasmukh Patel, DIG, police (planning and modernisation). Patel's 11-year-old daughter Astha had attended this workshop twice.
"At this workshop, our theme was 'democracy' and children prepared a play on the theme. In this process, they learned that democracy is not only about rights and it is also about collective responsibility. This workshop is meant to explore compassion, empathy, and best of the abilities possessed by every child," Sampat said.
Sampat has been creating awareness about learning disabilities through her workshops and lectures and by training school teachers in Gujarat for about two years. Her name has become familiar to the innovative teachers and parents who emphasize teaching with empathy, compassion and try to bring creativity out of a child. She has recently written a book, 'Learning disability in a nutshell', which was forwarded by actor Amir Khan. She said the book would soon be translated into Gujarati.
"There is a saying in Africa that it takes village to grow a child. There are many wrong notions among parents and teachers about learning disabilities. The book is for such people," she said.
"I would say that her experiments are successful as we have not addressed the issue for long. Children with learning disability should not suffer on account of society's ignorance," said Nalin Pandit, former director, GCERT.