Life is unpredictable. It has shown us that we must be contented with what we are, where we are and, the most important is, who we are. Certainly not how we are. We must not look at our differences. It is, eventually, the message that ‘La Courte Echelle’, literally translated ‘The legs Up’ one among those special schools for special children, wants to spread throughout this world by projecting a short film ‘Dilo Diboute’- meaning sugar cane held at ‘Le Méridien’ hotel on 08 June 2012.
We got the opportunity to appreciate the great asset of this school. It has not only got round the traditional schooling scheme, but makes it accessible to the welfare and development of these special children, depending on the capability of each child.
The training centre, a colonial house, restructured into a school, exists since September 2002. It is a non- profitable educational establishment. The founder,
Mrs. Sophie Douberchtein-Grigorieff set up this school, voluntarily, to help those who could not adapt to normal schools or their parents could not afford to send them to special institutions.
The school is run, principally, by donations and sponsors. Its aim is to provide educational facilities to children with difficulties and learning disabilities. The children are being taken care of by a team of professional educators and dedicated caregivers. Each child and their parents are unique. Through this understanding, the team approaches each, individually, with respect, concern and compassion.
In addition to its academic facilities, the school also, due to its strategic location in the district of Pamplemousses, Mapou, north of Mauritius, allows students to enjoy a wide range of activities in the area. These extra curricular activities are very important for these children and help to promote their potentials and abilities in school and everyday life. In fact, in the film, the child reveals his total ease with horses, diving skills in the sea or even, on a football pitch. It shows, clearly, that these children are very comfortable and communicate admirably well with their environment.
Despite their qualities, these children are, however, being tagged as handicapped by the society. They are, continuously, being mocked for their appearances or differences. However, research has shown that by provoking a certain reaction on the other side is, somehow, positive. At least, the children have been noticed, not left aloof or unapproachable.
Nevertheless, on watching the film, the distinctions are non-existent when among normal children. It is one of the objectives of the school that people admire, realise and recognise the qualities of these children. Instead of the mockeries, showing compassion and respect will be more appropriate. All we have to do is to make the first step towards them, be part of and console them in their long and fastidious journey.
Talking of ‘La Courte Echelle’, we must, rightfully, mention the person behind it. She, Sophie, came in Mauritius, some thirteen years ago. Like every mother, she fights for her child. Knowing that her daughter is slightly slow in her progress, she did not want to differentiate with children of her age. Quickly, she realised that her child is set aside. The adaptation of the child in a normal school is a suffering in itself. In this context, it is our educational system which is at fault. Above all, our system should be open to all categories of children and our educators should help the students’ attitude become more affectionate and friendly.
For a mother, this reality is very painful. A mother can tolerate all atrocities, but to see her child in distress is the worse agony. Thinking of the journey, from the north to Curepipe, which she had to make every day to drop her daughter in a special institution, was not extremely appealing.
Instinctively, she created this specialised school. In the same stride, she helped those in need. The school provided all programs for children, from the age of seven years and up. This institution is an acknowledged, non-governmental organisation. ‘La Courte Echelle’, a very special world for special children, was born.
We proclaim to be a modern society. Therefore, why must we discriminate among ourselves ? Why cannot we accept our fellows as they are ? Who can say that one is safe from any obstacles ? Who can prevent a happening from coming ? When we will get rid of all these barriers, we will, then, say, proudly, that we are a modern society, where peace and love reign.
In view to help, many associations as ‘La Courte Echelle’, in their mission, to improve their continuous efforts for the child’s welfare, our volunteers and donations are most welcome.
For a better world, for a better future, we are the one who will help to make life better.