News - June 16, 2011

Encounter with the mentally restricted

Nearly twenty students of student society SSR-W and 14 mentally restricted had a great time together last Saturday. They danced and played shovelboard games; they painted an underwater scene. In short, they 'prokkelled'.

Marion and Roelfien are painting together.
Esther van Vliet is president of Krater, the cultural committee of SSR-W. This second year Nutrition and Health student likes to organize activities which are not part of everyday student life. She found the 'prokkel' rather exciting at first. What would it take to get along with the mentally handicapped, she had wondered. 'That turned out to be very easy', she says enthusiastically. 'At first, I was somewhat reserved while making contact, but they made the first moves. For example, they introduced themselves spontaneously to all of us.'
The prokkel is a Dutch term for an invigorating encounter between someone who is mentally restricted and someone who is not. Every year in June, tens of such meetings are organized. SSR-W worked together with 'de Gele Knalpot' which organizes fun evenings every Wednesday for the physically and the mentally restricted.  Stichting Solidez also helped out with the prokkel in Wageningen.
Esther had an exhilarating afternoon. 'They say what's on their minds: "He's teasing me, isn't he? So I will tease him back." And if they are not interested to take part, they say so right away.'