Sahapedia’s heritage walk benefits Kochi’s special schoolchildren

>>Sahapedia, which is India’s biggest multimedia interactive portal on culture

Sahapedia_Special Walk 2Sahapedia, which is India’s biggest multimedia interactive portal on culture, took out a heritage walk on Tuesday for special children, as a team of 15 students of Reena Memorial Samrakshana Special School spent two hours at the Kerala Museum in Edappally.

Guided by their four teachers and authorities of the 1986-founded repository of artefacts, the walk organised by Sahapedia is in continuation with its mission for inclusivity in public access to heritage.

Ten female and five male students of an age group of between eight and 32 years did a two-hour trail, beginning with the museum’s gallery of Kerala history where they spent 40 minutes. After another half-an-hour’s guidance at the art gallery, the students sat down to draw and paint even as some others among them sang and drummed extempore.

Tuesday’s walk was the second in its ongoing series for the mentally-challenged, according to Sahapedia, which facilitates virtual exploration of historical sites as well as subjects of intangible heritage value such as performing arts, literature, cinema and cuisine of the old and new worlds. The first one was carried out on July 5, when a 25-member team from Raksha Special School in Mattanchery was taken to Kerala Museum.

Sahapedia, headquartered in Delhi, regularly holds heritage walks that benefit all segments of society.  “This is part of Sahapedia’s attempts to increase accessibility to public heritage sites,”says Dr Ranjini Krishnan, senior research coordinator at Sahapedia, Kochi.  “Developed countries have for long been into it. We are also more aware of accessibility issues in heritage now.”

Reena Memorial of Pachalam sent its set of students to the museum, considering that it would provide them a chance for social interaction, according to Sheeba Varghese, principal and director of the 1998-founded educational institution which currently has 83 students. “Such outings give them thorough refreshment. For, they grasp matters stronger when exposed to new environments,” she adds.

At the Kerala Museum, some of the students sang Malayalam film songs as well as bhajans, while four boys tapped on the bench they sat on. “There are often so many restrictions on visitors at a museum; that way it was gratifying to see the students expressing their creative side,” says artist Aditi Nayar, walk leader and a top functionary of the museum, founded by her granduncle R Madhavan Nayar (1914-96), a philanthropist-entrepreneur.

Sahapedia will decide shortly its next heritage walk in the series.

Education Post