After each and every item on the agenda, they returned to the dressing room amidst loud cheers from the audience. Their innocent smiles and adoring expressions stole the hearts of the spectators. They were simple and humble and were encouraged by every little appreciation. They enjoyed every minute on the stage.
They smiled and guided each other while the performance is going on. They wanted to show their best in front of those kind men and women.
The differently abled branch of the Sri Lanka Girl Guides’ Association organized the magical event ‘you are very special’, a concert by the differently abled girl guides and little friends.
These little blooming buds enlightened the Grand Ballroom of Galle Face Hotel on April 5, 2011.
The concert aimed at collecting funds for the International Indoor camp for differently abled Girl Guides and little friends, which is scheduled to be held in August this year.
Out of the 256 Girl Guides and little friends attached to this branch, many performed at this concert.
Before the concert began, I met some of the performers back stage. Nadeeka Jeewanthi Samarakoon, an excited young girl with autism was very keen to share her views.
“I’m an assistant dancing teacher at Ladies College,” she said. She is presently a student of dancing teacher Miranda Hemalatha.
Her first dancing teacher had been Daya Nellampitiya. “I was a guide when I was at Chitra Lane and it helped me a lot to shape my future,” she explained.
Dhanangi Fernando, another guide with autism, is a Grade 10 student of Lyceum College. paththare dannayi yanne. Kiyanna meyata oya gana (Tell her something about you, for the newspaper),” said Nadeeka to her highly excited friend Dhanangi, who refused to talk.
The guides and little friends from Nuffield School for the Hearing impaired and sight impaired, Kaithady Jaffna travelled all night to participate at this concert.
There were six little friends, three guides, and four teachers in the team. All the children who participated were hearing-impaired. However, they performed a dance item by following signals of their teachers.
The tragedy is that though we tapped our feet to the music, they did not hear anything. “It was a hard task to practice these little ones, still they enjoyed a lot,” said the teacher-in-charge Malini Prince Devarathnam.
The event started when the western band of the differently abled guides welcomed the chairperson of the Sunera Foundation, Sunethra Bandaranaike to the ballroom. After a little presentation, the items began.
The first item a, Pooja Dance by the Guides of the Supem Uyana Home, Gonapinuwala, signalled the audience of a breathtaking evening. Well-practised performers never paused to think about the next step. The beautiful song by the Guides of the Ratmalana Blind School was one of the special ones in the programme line up. The teacher who played the organ was also visually impaired. However, the voices and the music were superb.
The evening passed by in a flash. These differently abled Guides and little friends do not need sympathy, they need understanding.