Recently I visited India. One of the most vibrant countries, which never fails to inspire me.
What warms my heart the most is the way people go out of their way to help others, even if they have very little themselves. I met a remarkable gentleman, Mr Singh who was an inspiration to say the least. He is a middle class banker with a soft touch for horses and successfully managed to save up his earnings to buy himself two horses.
You must be thinking “big deal, the guy likes horses”.
Well it’s how he uses his passion for horse riding to help others…
Mr Singh is a strong believer that animal assisted therapy is the way forward and explained how horse riding is being used as part of treatment plans for those with special needs. I was told that regular horse riding lessons provides people with confidence, physical strength by strengthening muscles, improving tone and the rhythmic movements also improves co-ordination. Mr Singh spends his two days off giving young, disabled children horse riding lessons, free of charge, opportunities that many people in India cannot afford. These young children are affected by a vast range of conditions such as MS, autism and Down’s syndrome.
Whilst I was there I met a young girl around the age of 7, who was completely dependent on her parents as her disability physically restricted her. She started taking these horse riding lessons a few months ago, consequently she is now able to independently hold a glass in her hand. A simple task we take for granted yet it was a task she could not previously carry out due to her disabilities and she was proud to show me her fantastic achievement at every opportunity! For this young girl it provided hope and for her to be able to ride a horse meant she had control, for once. Although many of these children will have their disabilities for life, horse riding provides them an opportunity to develop their physical and social functioning. For these young kids it is a major motivational factor to see the improvements and the therapy gives them something to look forward to, or in some cases a purpose. To put it simply, Mr Singh provides hope to many kids. Which in a place like India, where there are very little opportunities for disabled people, a simple thing like hope impacts their lives massively.
Once word got around that Mr Singh was providing young children with these amazing opportunities, many local schools began to contact him. These schools were willing to pay him generously to provide horse riding lessons to the students, which initially excited him. However, after seeing how many of the children showed little respect towards the horses by kicking or scaring them, he immediately stopped teaching in schools as for him it wasn’t about making money but to share his love of horse riding.
I think this humble guy deserves to be recognised. To have so little and do so much for others out of kindness is so hard to do in this selfish world we live in. I learnt a lot from him, things that I was not even taught at my pharmacy school back in England. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to meet him, as he restored my faith in humanity as it is a rarity to find such generous souls. From my trip, I realised the difference that one individual could make by simply sharing their passion. When you think about it, it’s simples *squeak* yet for me it took a trip halfway across the world to truly understand how easy it can be to help others.