India’s Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 requires that the appropriate Government shall take measures to promote and protect the rights of all persons with disabilities to have a cultural life and to participate in social and recreational activities equally with others.
Thus in 2017, Magic Academy, in partnership with the Government of Kerala and its Anuyatra (Walking together) Program, a comprehensive rights-based life cycle approach in disability management, began its journey to integrate differently abled children into its programs. This note briefly summarizes Magic Academy’s journey toward an inclusive society and towards empowering differently abled community to join the mainstream.
Inspired by the highly successful performance of the children, Magic Academy decided to establish a permanent performance platform for them -Mpower centre in 2017. This Centre trains and develops their talents, while ensuring life skills to make them more confident and self-aware. The assessment by the Child Development Centre found that the Program had several positive results on the children, and this provided a huge boost for the entire members associated with Mpower program. According to the CDC report, the Mpower program has helped these children and their parents in improving the mental health status and social development. The report also recommended similar programs based on art to reach more differently abled children.
Based on CDC recommendation, Magic Academy and Kerala Social Security Mission, Government of Kerala have joined hands to build a Comprehensive Art Centre at Kazhakkuttom, Thiruvananthapuram for differently abled children to explore their artistic talents thereby an overall development of differently abled community.
Different Art centre aims to empower and educate 100 differently abled children with various disabilities -not just intellectual-and expand the focus of training from concentrating on magic to art forms such as music, dance, drama, cinema making, painting and skills in various musical instruments blended with a magical touch. The centre aims to empower these children by sharpening their raw talents through sheer conviction and determination and empowerment of marginalized community to stand on their own legs. The appreciation from the audience reaching the centre from different parts of the world has given new enlightenment to their life.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan formally inaugurated the Different Art Centre at the Kinfra Film and Video Park premises in Kazhakuttam on Thursday, 07 November 2019. He termed the Different Art Centre at the Magic Planet, founded by magician Gopinath Muthukad, as an exemplary model for the intellectual and mental progress of differently abled children.
Art therapy could play a significant role in bringing positive changes among differently abled children. Shri Pinarayi Vijayan added that the project has become a proud initiative of the government which has been working on transforming the State into a differently abled friendly one.
"I congratulate Gopinath Muthukad and his team for exploring the hidden talents of these differently abled children. The use of magic to bring out the inherent talents of these disabled children was a creative way of telling the world that they are not differently able or disabled but specially abled and they could achieve wonders."
Dr. Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Former Vice-President of India