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Food, Fun, and Inclusivity: A Day to Remember at Taarana School’s Canteen Day

A teacher and two students at the Taarana School Canteen Day.

For Taarana’s differently-abled children, the event provided them a space to socialise, learn, and grow.

Step right up and imagine a place where the air fills with the smell of freshly grilled sandwiches, the sound of children’s laughter, and the sight of colourful decorations and outfits. Welcome to Taarana School’s Canteen Day, a carnival of food, fun, and inclusivity.

This event on a recent Saturday was more than just your typical school fair and fundraiser. Taarana’s students took centre stage by actively preparing and selling food, drinks, and other items to an enthusiastic crowd of parents, families, and guests.

However, the day was more than just the sale of scrumptious sandwiches, fruit cups, curry puffs, and refreshing drinks; it was a fantastic day of community and inclusivity. For Taarana’s differently-abled children, the event provided them with a space to socialise, learn, and grow.

From making sales to interacting with customers, the students had the opportunity to put the valuable skills Taarana teaches them to practical use. There was no mistaking the sense of accomplishment and pride that helped boost their self-confidence and self-esteem.

The Principal of Taarana, Dr Sunitha Sivakumaran, said, “Everyone, young or old, can have a handy collection of life skills, like food preparation, with some practice.

“We help our students learn these skills enthusiastically while embracing individuality. Each child has their learning style and way of perceiving the world, so today’s event showcased this to the community around them.”

The event also marked the launch of the QI Group’s first Employee Community Impact (ECI) programme for the year. This initiative encourages employees to dedicate 16 hours a year to community service through various uplifting programmes by RYTHM Foundation, the social impact initiative of QI. Taarana is managed by RYTHM.

Thirty employees and several Board members of QI participated in the Canteen Day by helping the students and staff prepare and sell the items. The sight of adults working alongside the children was heartwarming as they formed bonds and created lasting memories.

In addition to food, the fundraiser for Taarana also featured preloved items, candles, bags, cards, and potted plants for sale. The festive ambience and diversity of the items on sale attracted visitors and guests of all ages and interests, making it a true community gathering.

The carnival-like atmosphere of the Canteen Day was infectious with all the smiles and fun. It was a reminder that, despite our differences, we are all human and deserve the same love and respect. For the children of Taarana, it was a day of laughter, learning, and love they will never forget.

“By introducing life skills early on, differently-abled children gain the tools to help build their self-esteem and improve their happiness in all areas of their lives as they grow up and transition from school to adult life.

“We hope to keep building them up while educating the communities around us to help increase students’ independence at home, in school and their community,” Dr Sunitha added.