Inside 4 Walls

Sri Lanka, 2016


I watch with resignation as teachers give learning materials only to those students who are capable of completing tasks, while others roam the classroom restlessly. Likewise, I feel twisted when children are physically punished for behavior that is not as was expected. The stifling heat chokes and saps and, as I look around the room and see children with so many different nuances, yet so little variation in the way that their needs are catered for, it makes me feel desperate. I boil inside when I see a child without the ability to speak having food forcefully shoved down her throat.
Indignation and lack of conformity to the way things are come from those who do not belong to that place. Those who compare the worlds, and do not accept. ︎
Those who have the arrogance to think they can do better, who were not there before and do not know the path travelled until today.

When I had finally deconstructed the scenes unfolding inside those 4 walls, I began to see the reality of the classroom anew. Rather than fear the clash between the 2 worlds, the 2 ways, I thanked them for their co-existence. I understood that the hardness of one provides the structure for the weakness in another. That order, punishment and rigid conditions, when done with heart, can bring out the highest quality in individuals. And in a magical and beautiful way, these 24 special children show how capable they are when they are given the circumstances to do so.