Sunrise Learning is a Center for Autism & Special Needs, in Noida (www.sunriselearning.in). It provides education, empowerment and employment to people with special needs. Social Skills development for its differently-abled students is the most unique program of Sunrise Learning.
Team Sunrise Learning went to visit The heritage hotel Rao Raj Vilas, Kuchesar Fort last year, with a group of its senior pre-vocational and vocational students !
It was a memorable trip, and the specially-abled students got a golden opportunity to travel and stay on this 2 days trip independently, with their friends and teachers, without their parents !!!
The trip taught them skills like no classroom in the world can !
They learnt to conduct themselves independently throughout the trip and solve their own little problems themselves, of course with ready help from their teachers !!
They learnt to manage their luggage themselves,check into allotted rooms,share their rooms,beds and washrooms change clothes,
bathe on their own,serve meals to themselves eat it on their own.They slept with their buddies, listening to music, chatting away, without their moms and dads !!!
Yes, it was an incredible achievement for the specially-abled champs !
It was their first 2 days & nights trip, that they cherished to the core, and did not want to come back !!
The most beautiful part of the trip was the heritage hotel itself !
The fort had the feel of a king’s abode, which it originally was. It is an 18th century fort that belongs to the jat rulers of Kuchesar ! A part of it has been transformed to a hotel to receive guests and part is retained as the family’s residence. Hotel Rao Raj Vilas has partnered with Sunrise Learning Foundation for curating Holiday experiences for specially-abled students to create opportunities for soft skill learning, especially for HOSPITALITY COURSE of Vocational Training Courses, personality development, assisted introduction to a rural setting and for outdoor sports like cycling, swimming, skating, horse riding, all this while enjoying a beautiful getaway from class room learning. The fort offers a beautiful destination for a mini vacation just two hours away from Delhi – a special attraction for those who feel deterred to take long drives to hill stations far away !
For these two days it belonged to these free-spirited boys and girls, who soaked in the mesmerizing beauty of the palace and devoured the delicious cuisine, made by the resident staff of the fort !
There were lush carpets and royal chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. The feel was royal, yet comfortable, the the experience aristocratic yet homely !
The students were made to feel at home, instantly, when they were greeted by the royal family, who now run and manage the hotel , the successors of the Rao Sahab himself !
Another amazing and most memorable part of this trip was the magnificent swimming pool !
It was a large rectangular pool, with the arched balconies or ‘jharokas’ all around, looming high over the pool, providing a cool shade to the bright blue sparking water of the pool, even in the hottest of months !
The swim was as refreshing as the “rocking” songs that were played by the DJ, who was elected by the students, from the students and for the students, themselves ! Democracy at its BEST !
The dining hall opens on to the swimming pool, and the view was enthralling!
The day was full of nature walks, all around the fort with it’s beautiful orchards, gardens and farms !
An old temple stood on one corner of the royal property, and a white horse was galloping around in the lush green sprawling lawns of the palace !
The students were given the most “fun” chance of doing CLAY POTTERY with the potter from the village. He helped the students to create little clay wonders one after the other, uplifting their spirits everytime a pot was lifted up from the spinning wheel, with a delicate thread !
The entire team was taken around the palace on a bullockcart, again a simple rural yet enchanting experience for these innocent students, who loved every moment of the ride, fulfilling some of their sensory needs too !
A dance and games party was arranged by the hosts, on the last night, for the students and the team ! The games brought in a new dash of childhood, as the teachers & students got “religiously” busy trying to look for “hidden treasures” !!
The prize ceremony also uncovered a child in each and every participant, when EVERYONE wanted to SNATCH the best prize !!
The dance party lasted longer than it does in any Big fat Indian wedding, and the students loved the “nobody will ask you to go to bed” spirit of the teachers !!!
It was a novel experience and their faces glowed with the joy of being on their own !!
That night, finally, when everyone retired to their beds, tired and content with the fun they had, they carried some cherished moments, promising themselves to come back again, soon !!
Written by Dr Sonali Kataria, Center-Head, Sunrise Learning.
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