Their lives are full of challenges, but they always gave us big and warm smiles when we arrived. These smiles let me feel that everything is going to be ok. I will keep the India-style smile in my mind forever.
After we arrived in India, I know this country is very different from Taiwan. Not only the temperature but also the surroundings. In downtown areas, poor and rich are only separated by a wall. There were a lot of cars on the roads, with the sound of many horns, and I also saw some homeless people lying on the road, even including children. I cannot describe everything I saw.
I began our journey with these questions. And after we visited a special child’s home, I deeply realised that how complicated the issues are. Factors include gender inequality, the wide gap between rich and poor and women having no chance to choose their life. This special child’s parents are both disabled. They do not have a stable income. How hard their life is. The mother faces the most difficulties; she cannot stand up, but she still does a lot of work. What I saw in this mother is strength. Kind of like she already accepts all the challenges in her life. The IKEA Foundation and Special Olympics provide the family with an opportunity to change their life. They hope their child, through the training, can join social life and also be an athlete, helping their life become better. “Never underestimate your power to change yourself,” is what I learnt from this family.
“Sport has the power to change the world,” said Nelson Mandela. After I finished the trip to India, this sentence came to my mind. We saw how Special Olympics keeps trying to change children’s lives in India.
The Special Olympics Young Athletes programme lets sport connect students with intellectual disabilities and those without intellectual disabilities. They try to learn from each other. Special Olympics provide the power to change their attitude and life. The power also brought us to India and influenced all our views. Special Olympics tries to let everyone know those special children are not disabled they are just have different abilities.
I would like to tell those children whom I met: I hope you always have innocent smiles and we will give you the power to change the world, no matter how difficult it is. My powers are my eyes and my heart and writing down your story in this country, to bring back to Taiwan and tell people: we all have different kinds of power to change the world, just like you do.
I am so glad that I was one of the members of the IWitness trip. Thanks to the IKEA Foundation for giving us an indispensable and amazing trip and letting me know that although it is a small step, it is still enough to change the world.