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The last weekend of February had the Pune office team up with volunteers from Credit Suisse for a visit to the Katraj Zoo with the children from Cochlea, an NGO working with the hearing impaired.

The activity started as planned around 9:45am. Credit Suisse volunteers helped with the purchase of the tickets and leading the kids inside the zoo. The activity started with distribution of snacks and a brief introduction to Concern India Foundation and Cochlea. The Principal of the preschool sensitized the volunteers about the children and ways to interact with the children. Stress was laid on using language and gestures rather than sign language for communication. The children were paired up with volunteers for the day. They first went on a tram ride around the park followed by a walk around the snake park. The volunteers and the children alike had fun trying to keep pace with each other in the zoo, looking at the animals, trying to communicate with each other explaining what they were seeing. There was a quick round of Charades where the volunteers imitated some of the animals and had the children identify them. The day ended with lunch and distribution of return gifts. The volunteers were very proactive in clearing the place and separating the plastic, which was taken for recycling.

Interactions like this not only give the children a sense of normalcy but also help develop their vocabulary. It enhances their language and speech capabilities, thereby accelerating their integration into the normal schools. This is exactly in alignment with Cochlea’s vision.

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