GEORGE TOWN: Ashel Lim Boon Pow, nine, loves to draw fish. He was also born with cerebral palsy.
His grandmother Tan Moy Ching, 66, said his mother walked away when Ashel was a year old, leaving her to pick up the maternal duties.
She was with Ashel as he busily painted at the Cerebral Palsy (Spastic) Children’s Association of Penang’s painting activity to mark World Children’s Day yesterday.
“I took care of him, and that was when I brought him to the association for physiotherapy and to mingle with the other children.
“Today, he has improved so much, and by just looking at an image, he can draw it almost exactly,” said Tan.
She said Ashel is also no longer an introvert and loves to come to the association to be with his friends and teachers.
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Across the table, parents Rueshdan Salleh, 42, and Noor Marhamah Osman, 35, were also beaming with pride as their son Rafeeq Mirza Rueshdan, six, who has cerebral palsy and global developmental delay, took part in the painting.
Noor Marhamah said Rafeeq, who is the eldest of three siblings, was born prematurely at 29 weeks and was kept in an incubator for a month, after which he had an infection in the brain due to loss of oxygen.
“We have been bringing him to the association since he was three years old, and now there is so much improvement as he can focus and even sit up,” she explained, adding that Rafeeq has begun enjoying music these days.
The tens of parents of cerebral palsy kids were seen united and thoughtfully helping each other’s children with their painting projects during the event.
Knowing that Pablo Picasso once famously said every child is an artist, Artsy Sip Studio in Penang brought acrylic paint and other materials for the 36 children at the association to work on.
Studio owner Aaron Hwang said: “Art is to be enjoyed by everyone, and when we realised that World Children’s Day was happening, we decided to hold this acrylic painting workshop for them.”
He added that specially- abled children should be allowed to express themselves through art, and the workshop was one way to encourage them to continue doing so.
Association administrator V. Muthiah said art was an effective way for their children to express themselves.
“This workshop allowed them to paint what they feel happy about and want to say to the world,” he said, adding that all the parents were thankful to Artsy Sip for introducing acrylic painting to the kids.