Gifted Hands

Perhaps one of the hardest things for parents to mentally digest is being told that their child ‘is not normal’. It was exactly this disclosure that tormented Marcia Smith for a number of years before she found the ultimate solution that helped to not only give her new perspective to life, but also provide her with an enduring passion to help children who are differently-able lead a near-normal life. Through the introduction of Gifted Hands, a school especially designed for children with varying forms of disability, she is not only able to perform the role of a consummate teacher, but to live up to her motto “character is doing for others what they cannot do for themselves when no one is around, because God is watching, not man”. Although equipped with the relevant knowledge and the skills to care for persons who were born into the world with varying forms of disabilities, ranging from Down Syndrome to autism, Marcia was only, on April 16 of 2012, able to rent a location and establish a school to help children with varied disabilities. She had for over three years previously offered her services to two separate entities.
Her school is made up of a single room located within a bigger educational institution in Georgetown. For the children she attends to five days a week, it is the beginning of learning, which often starts with sitting and develops into paying attention, though their ages range from 9 to 44. Marcia’s classroom understandably does not mirror the mainstream school system, but it does incorporate teaching guidelines from the Ministry of Education, governed by a daily timetable. She shares that “it is not the easiest task to teach a child who gives you no eye contact and has an attention span of zero, but there is no way that I am going to give up on any of them.
Though her voice is sometimes drowned out by uncontrollable wails and mild tantrums, Marcia, by a mere glance, is able to discern her students’ needs and appease their concerns with absolute certainty. There are times that their needs are met by a simple hug from their ever-so attentive teacher, who revealed that each child is treated with the love and compassion that she demonstrates to her own children, since she learnt just under a decade ago “to do for others what you would like them to do for you”.
In a single word, Marcia sums up her teaching career, insisting with the conviction that it is “satisfying”. Although she has benefited from formal teachings and much reading on her own, it was the hands-on experience with her own son Jared, who is currently eleven years old, that gave her the extra vigor and resilience to cope with her needy students.
Her experiences caused her to channel her energies towards ultimate upliftment, which has not only helped to transform the life of her son, who medical officials had given-up on, but today has allowed her to embrace her calling to help bring new meaning to the term differently-able.

  • Ramesh Vanan
  • Ramesh Vanan
  • Ramesh
  • Marcia Smith
    Key Cast
  • Jared Smith
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 46 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 15, 2018
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Canon Mark III
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Film Outside the Frame
    Los Angeles
    United States
    November 18, 2018
    LMU School Awards
    Best Documentary
Director Biography - Ramesh Vanan

A Passionate filmmaker who also by Vocation is a Catholic Priest striving to bring the untold stories to the ears that can make differences in the lives of the people who are lost. Beginning in 2003 during my priestly formation I set out doing short films in the Indian regional languages. Eventually used the story telling medium in the form of documentaries to educate people. My films speak of social justice. "Gifted Hands" which is about a Special needs school won the best documentary award at Film Outside the Fram LMU School annual awards.

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Director Statement

Bring the combination of light and shadow, capture them through your lens, project it through a powerful light that will eradicate darkness and make this world a better place to live in.