Social inclusion has been defined as “The process of improving the terms for individuals and groups to take part in society”
…or more precisely
“The process of improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of people, disadvantaged on the basis of their identity, to take part in society”.
History can argue that human society has been very proactive in terms of social inclusion: Braille for the blind, raising awareness for diseases like HIV, support for non-profit groups working relentlessly for the causes of the deprived, worldwide government initiatives for minorities and many more, are just a few examples of the recent past
In spite of many examples of social inclusion the problem of social exclusion seems to be on a rampant rise: growing refugees across the world, feminism, LGBT, economically backward, ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism, extinct skill sets with the onset of new technology…..are just some labels.
The cycle of social inclusion and exclusion is not a new one but an age old phenomenon which has been dealt with just-in-time or stop-gap bandage based on popular perceptions or a mighty hand used at discretion or for benefit. Fortunately, it is now seeing the light of social media in synergistic connections across the world and we believe every parent, individual and institute has a unique responsibility to raise influencers with the right mindset for the evolving complex world.
“At the core of social inclusion lies dignity…” has been the driving force for all our policies at school and we have taken delight in the outcomes in the form of inclusive education for all and multicultural adaptation until a few weeks ago when a child prodded us to think with a simple comment:
“They are from the street and we need to protect ourselves from them”,
…we were visiting the garden next door, where local children were playing.
This defined our field trip to a nearby creche for children of construction workers.
A few of us felt that our children needed to see beyond them and this was possible if we created working scenarios that promoted yet another social inclusion.
Some of us argued that they are small (2 to 6 year olds) and they will get enough opportunities to do CAS (Community activation service) when they grow as it is mandated by most institutes in India and across the world.
Not knowing what to expect we packed ideas and appropriate material to visit the 30 children at the Crèche with about 25 children from our school and parent volunteers.
The one thing we affirmed is that dignity and work ties every soul small and big.
The ‘shocking’ was when even two year olds did not complain of heat and embraced their surroundings unconditionally unlike they would do for credits and marks in their later years as part of CAS.
What stuck us was that if we have to raise human champions of social inclusion we need to start early when they view the world with curiosity, enthusiasm and equality without the filters of advanced education, burden of investments and drive to redeem them all.