Born in the right place of the world

Garut district is organised in 421 sub-districts. Every sub-district is composed by many villages. Save the Children is present in 21 of them with the IDEAL project that supports children with disabilities and their families.

These villages are sometimes very poor. At this time of year it rains a lot; water enters the houses and streets turn into rivers. In these communities, the presence of Save the Children is critical to the lives of children with disabilities and their families.

Happiness is contagious, picture by Riccardo D’Ottavio

We leave the city and move forward on dirt roads, which run through green meadows, crossed by fast motorbikes. The sky becomes grey but the rain still does not come.

We get out of the car and it is an explosion of enthusiasm. We’re met by children with disarming smiles and women in colourful dresses, who seem to have been waiting for us for a long time. They happily take pictures, because for them it is a special day as it is for us. It’s difficult to control our emotions. We stop for a second looking at each other and then we start playing and singing together.

Let’s Play! Picture by Riccardo D’Ottavio.

Laughter, shouts and off-key songs are in the air. We sing in Italian for them and they sing in Indonesian, trying to teach us their words, with little success but so much fun.
They are many and their happiness is contagious: for us it is hard to imagine that they can be happy with so little. However, there is no sadness today and it’s a small miracle. The afternoon ends with a noisy parade among the muddy streets. Now it starts to rain. We say goodbye thanking, singing and holding back a few tears.

Normally this child finds it challenging to play with other kids but today, for the first time, he had fun playing and singing with us. Picture by Riccardo D’Ottavio.

The car door closes and I do not know how I feel. But I do know that today there were no children with disabilities and “normal” children: there was only the joy of being together, each one with its own uniqueness and talent. It is wonderful what Save the Children are doing, creating a better future for those who are born with less than we are.”

Lucia Mandrioli