Smile and Help Smile
The human tapestry is an amazing creation. We come in all colours, shapes, sizes and forms and this diversity is the secret behind the staggering beauty of our species. Though we are not all created equal we all have it in us to be our personal best. So a little difference in ability should not stop anyone from living life to the fullest and to do our part in the scheme of things.
This is where SMILE Canada comes in. They are helping children with disabilities to achieve their best.
SMILE is an organization that supports not only such children but also their families to overcome the stigma and challenges that result from someone having a disability. Their main focus are children of minority communities especially Muslims. Mainly because the present political environment is extra challenging for anyone already at a disadvantage because of not being perceived as “normal”.
They are one of the most vulnerable section of the society. SMILE is doing excellent work helping this marginalized group.
What is SMILE?
SMILE supports children and youth in many ways by:
• helping foster a positive relationship between families and children with different abilities.
• offering assessments and scholarship opportunities for various services.
• conducting workshops for families and community leaders that are focused on providing specialized knowledge and valuable tips.
• working with local partners to improve the level of dialogue around disability issues.
A SMILING story:
Zahra Khalfan had this to say about her family’s experience with SMILE.
SMILE has been both a great resource and an amazing social outlet for my brother as well as my family. My brother, Abbas Syed, has Down’s syndrome and SMILE events have always been something he looks forward too. Not only does he get to socialize with others but he often is a role model for those with similar disabilities. He takes pride in being a volunteer at SMILE and giving back to the community. For my parents it’s a great network to share information and to provide insight to others in similar situations. SMILE creates awareness and bridges gaps for individuals with special needs.
Since its inception, SMILE has made a difference but it still has a long way to go. It needs support from all levels of the society. It needs each and everyone of us to step forward and contribute in whichever way we can. We can help families from minority and marginalized communities gain better access to services and build a network of support. With over 85 Families already being helped and more referrals coming on a weekly basis, SMILE needs all the help it can get.