Born in the right place of the world

Lucia Mandrioli

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lucia Mandrioli

I am 40 years old. I would describe myself as citizen of the world but I live in Bologna, a beautiful medieval city in northern Italy. I live with my 13-year-old son, Tommaso. I have been working for IKEA since 1997, now as a Loyalty Specialist. I like history and art. I recently graduated in Cultural Heritage and I am eager to learn from different cultures because I am convinced that knowledge is the only way for respecting and sharing. I can’t live without running, without my books and without planning new travel, near home or thousands of kilometres away. My motto is Gandhi’s phrase: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This experience is a great opportunity to see this change with my eyes. 40 anni. Mi piace definirmi cittadina del mondo ma vivo a Bologna, una bellissima città medievale del nord Italia. Abito con Tommaso, mio figlio di 13 anni. Lavoro in IKEA dal 1997, ora nel ruolo di Loyalty Specialist. Amo la storia e l’arte. Mi sono da poco laureata in Beni Culturali e studio per conoscere, in particolare, le culture diverse dalla mia, convinta che la conoscenza sia la sola strada per il rispetto e la condivisione. Non potrei vivere senza correre, senza libri e senza programmare un nuovo viaggio, che sia dietro casa o lontano migliaia di chilometri. La mia frase guida è una frase di Gandhi: “Sii il cambiamento che vuoi vedere nel mondo”: questa esperienza è quindi una grande opportunità di vedere questo cambiamento con i miei occhi.

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