Special Children change my life perception through the Just Play Programme

Arieta is a 26-year-old housewife from Waiyavi settlement in Lautoka who fell in love with the Just Play program from the first time she joined 3 years ago.

This is her story:
“Before joining the Just Play Programme, I was a housewife, and my husband was the sole breadwinner of our family. I always neglect special school children and always love to be in my world.

I was introduced to Just Play Programme through Master Imdad Ali my neighbor since I was three years old who is like a father to me.I always call him ABHA (dad).3 years ago he asked me to join the programme because he knew what type of person I am and the Just Play Programme could change me and I would be able to get some money for my family as well. My very first Just Play activity was when we visited Lautoka Special School where he introduced me to the children and later asked me to continue from where he left. I was speechless, and I didn’t really know where to start. Luckily Mr Imdad called me aside and told me this “WE ARE ALL HUMAN WITH DIFFERENT ABILITIES it’s only that we are special in our own ways. From then onwards, I decided to start believing in my own self and believe that we are all special in our own way.

Just play had changed my life from someone who is always against special need children and always treat them differently, I learnt that everyone is special and unique in their own different ways. At first, I felt terrible about myself as to how I used to treat special needs children. Now as a Just Play Coordinator and facilitator, I came to understand that we are all unique in our different ways and no one is perfect. I feel confident working and doing sessions with all different ages of special school children in the west. I gained confidence in talking to children and a large number of people in public. If I didn’t join Just Play programme, I would be still that shy housewife who always think of myself and not others especially neglecting special needs children and always think highly of my capabilities and not what others are capable of doing that I can’t-do.

Thank you to all those blessed special children whom I was introduced to 3 years ago as this statement will be part of my life and work “WE ARE ALL UNIQUE IN OUR WAYS, AND WE ARE ALL ONE DESPITE OUR DIFFERENCES”

I wish to also thank Fiji Football Association and Oceania Football Confederation and all its financial partners such as: The Australian Government, New Zealand Government, and UEFA foundation for children, Football Federation of Australia and UNICEF for this unique OFC Just Play Programme as it is changing children, families and our lives as volunteers as well”.

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