Over 300 people walked barefoot at Chennai beach to mark World Disability Day
The International Day of People with Disability was celebrated across the world on 3 December. The celebrations were held in various ways in different parts of the country as well. Children in Chennai got to spend the day being part of an ‘Inclusive barefoot beach walking’ experience.
Newgen Nandavanam Charitable Trust had organized an amazing barefoot walk on the at Edward Elliot’s beach. Children from across Chennai were invited for the walk.
The walk saw the participation of hundreds of school children, with and without disabilities, college students, parents, working professionals, artists, and many more.
Karthik Chandrashekar, a multi-talented person with quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy flagged off the walk. Some school children performed the traditional Parai and dance.
Barefoot walk is a healing concept developed by Dr Veera Panch for children with developmental disabilities.
Dr Panch, a certified anthroposophic physician, is the mentor at the Nandavanam Center of Excellence for Children with Developmental Challenges in Chennai, which is a CSR initiative of Newgen KnowledgeWorks Pvt. Ltd, Chennai.
The idea behind the therapy is to pay attention to gross motor skills and not just fine motor skills as that is crucial for overall growth and development of children with disabilities.
A. Mahalakshmi, mother of six-year-old Jaswanth, also took part in the event and feels that after beach walking she has seen remarkable improvement in his motor skills. “He has started cycling now,” she says.
The exposure to the fresh morning air and therapeutic contact with the beach sand has been found to improve the gross motor skills of the children and make a positive impact on their health.
Dr Veera Panch spoke to the participants of the walk about health benefits of therapeutic beach walking.
We have adapted barefoot beach walking as a therapeutic activity at Nandavanam and practiced this with our children on a regular basis for about 5 years. The improvements we could see in the children are remarkable. We want to promote this modality of free treatment to as many as possible, by organizing an awareness campaign on this special day to mark the disability day celebrations. Through this event,we try to include the children and educators of all streams, to this campaign as they are the potential advocates for this movement. – Dr Veera Panch, Mentor, Nandavanam Center of Excellence for Children with Developmental Challenges.
The beach had a display of inclusive painting art by Jayakumar, URF world record holder in largest pencil sketch and sand sculpture by Prabhakaran. Preetha Srinivasan, Managing Trustee of Newgen Nandavanam Charitable Trust was also present at the occasion and cheered the participants.