Manohar International Airport (MIA), operated by GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL), illuminated the lives of special children during a unique and heart-warming airport familiarization trip organized in conjunction with the Office of the Persons with Disabilities State Commission, marking World Disability Week.
Mid last week, a group of eighty special children from Aastha’s Anand Niketan, a school dedicated to the education of mentally challenged, autistic, and underprivileged children, were given an unforgettable opportunity to explore the inner workings of the airport. This initiative was not just a trip; it was a voyage into uncharted territory for children who had never set foot in an airport before.
The immersive experience guided the children through a traveller’s journey—from the arrival at the terminal parking lot, exploration of the passenger terminal building, interactions at ticketing counters, understanding the PESC area, to absorbing the intricacies of passenger-safety announcements and various other fascinating functions.
The children’s joy was palpable as they marvelled at the airport’s inner workings, especially the close encounters with airplanes. The lively atmosphere, complemented by live music at the arrival area, ignited a spirited dance among the children, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Reflecting on the initiative, R V Sheshan, CEO of GGIAL, invoked the wisdom of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, stating, “The children of today will make the India of tomorrow. The way we bring them up will determine the future of the country.” This sentiment underscores the profound responsibility our society bears in educating, grooming, and nurturing children with a holistic approach, addressing their physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs to prepare them for future challenges.
The significance of such familiarization trip extends beyond the immediate joy it brings to the children and their families. It plays a crucial role in reducing anxiety levels associated with air travel for special children. The initiative serves as a bridge of understanding for the entire airport community, aiding in better identifying and meeting the unique needs and expectations of special children.
CEO R V Sheshan emphasized the importance of preparing children for the flying experience, not only for a pleasant family trip but also for parents of such special children. He stated, “Our priority is to provide our passengers with an exceptional, pleasant, and safe experience, no matter their limitations. The initiative aligns with GGIAL’s commitment to inclusivity and fostering a positive impact on the community.”
The success of this endeavour relied on meticulous planning, obtaining various permits from security agencies, and ensuring minimal disruption to regular airport functions. Team GGIAL’s synergistic efforts made this trip a resounding success, reinforcing the airport’s dedication to enhancing the travel experience for everyone.