Smiles make a beautiful world

At the moment I arrived in India, the traffic noise was so loud, with endless horns that are like engines and a non-stop Bluetooth device. Once in the car, the sounds start and then never end. The nasal cavity continues to absorb a seeming curry flavour. The air is full of a sweet and bitter taste. These two elements immediately filled our five senses. The food that appeared on the plane as a welcome gesture looked like the same colour on the outside, but it was actually a combination of a lot of sourness and sweetness, and it strongly stimulated the taste buds.

A local market, photo by Andy Lin.

Us, faces of Asia, walking in the city, as if we were a special species of animal. No matter what we do, the people here seem to be curious. People always go to crowd around us. Everything is very interesting for them. Not only do they like to see foreigners with cultural differences, they also seem to like to gather in groups and discuss what interesting to them.

The social boundaries are blurry and obvious at the same time. Majestic mansions next to the broken buildings can be seen commonly in any community in New Delhi. The two can easily cross the road to one another, but it is a whole different world. So in one true sentence, the gap between the rich and the poor is huge.

Tuk tuks, photo by Andy Lin. 

There are BMW luxury cars and tuk tuks. Motorbikes, tricycles, ox carts, bicycles, and car models are all in one image. The traffic here is not “orderly and disorderly”. It can only be called “the logic in the chaos”. Traffic and the gap between rich and the poor seem to reflect that Indians are always good at finding their way out of adversity.

Playing together with children. Photo by Andy Lin.

From the downtown area to the suburban landscape, the two-hour drive changes the height of the buildings. The gap between rich and poor is the same. When we arrived at the first visiting school, Little Angel School, I think this is a heaven paradise for Special Olympics Young Athletes.

Everything is beautiful and well-equipped. Teachers are well-trained and are full of love and patience. During a tour through the whole school, we were welcomed as if we were at home. For the first time in our lives, we were connecting with the children of the Young Athletes. They have such pure souls and are so innocent. They were full of curiosity about everything and not afraid of strangers approaching them. We didn’t need too much language to get along with the children. We just smiled at each other. And I found a smile is the best language.

Fatherly love. Photo by Andy Lin.

A good Young Athletes school is very important. Some children who are referred early can enter the school and benefit from the school’s teaching methods and a series of meticulous and diverse physical therapies. They can successfully integrate into normal life and can return to normal school. Last year, 16 children returned to normal life.

Every piece of equipment in Little Angel School’s classroom is purposeful and mission-oriented. Gradually, they can provide different children with what they need most and train them in future life skills so that they can make a living. The details of the project are amazing.

I think this palatial castle school is important in India for Young Athletes, as a highly publicised channel with a high profile and a high level of community resources. It is a very effective publicity channel. Other students can understand children from the Young Athletes programme from an early age and they can face each other with an open mind. They also start to disseminate relevant knowledge and love among their relatives and friends.

Playing together with a child. Photo by Pei Lu.

The next day we went to a community school two hours away by car. Unlike the bright scenes of yesterday, it seemed more like what I had expected before departure.

People in relatively poor communities were focusing on basic physical needs. The most important thing is to be fed and warm. This community school, in the Special Olympics plan, will also have different ways of helping in different situations. The region focuses on how to find out that children have intellectual disabilities and communicate with their families to help them face this matter because, for most, family life is already difficult. The reality is that there are no extra resources for children to receive an education.

Share toys with everyone. Photo by Kate Chen.

Therefore, community agencies pay more attention to attracting children to study. For example, they use food to attract children to come to school, and they can get some food if they wish to come. Parents can also pay the school’s tuition fees by doing volunteer work. As long as parents are willing to face up to their children’s problems, and are willing to join together and increase their relevant knowledge, it is the progress for Special Olympics.

Little boy welcomes us. Photo by Andy Lin.

Not only in India, but also in Taiwan, people from more disadvantaged ethnic groups will find the same with the same or acquired problems. However, children born with intellectual disabilities will have a higher risk of inherited genetic defects. This is not right and wrong, but these ethnic groups are indeed the most in need of care in every society.

When I was in the store applying for IWitness, I thought I was sending love to India. After I went there, I found out that we couldn’t really do anything for them. Instead, we just played and shared smiles and faced each other in the process of playing games.

Our hearts were also linked together and we communicated with each other with a smile. The innocent smile of the children cured our socialised empty heart, melted the gap between language and nationality, and was the influence of a smile.

We are fully aware that we can give these children far less than the emotions they have brought us, but we hope that in this wonderful afternoon, we can let them forget the troubles of life and play carefree games to let them feel the beauty and hope of the world

The last hug when leaving. Photo by Abby Lin.

As a large multinational company, IKEA continues to carry out “meaningful, verifiable, sustainable, and implementable” social responsibilities, and it is also a sustainable concern. Global and full of humanity. Before departure, an employee shared a question for us. “For an IKEA co-worker from Taiwan, how can we help Indian children in their daily lives?”

As long as we carry out our smiles to customers and work hard, we can make long-term a success. We can support our family and support the  IKEA Foundation with their projects around the world.

I am honored to be a part of the IKEA family. On the occasion of the 30th year of my life, I have a stable and loving job with a family and children. I originally wanted to share this positive energy in India. But this time, India’s IWitness team has given me full satisfaction. Together, we’re creating a more beautiful world for children. Finally, I hope that every child in the world can laugh with happiness and satisfaction. This is the greatest purpose and significance of my trip.

    Andy Lin