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Friday, 5 February 2016

Meeting their needs with love - Telangana

Visually-challenged tribal children learning Braille at Vikasam in Utnoor in Adilabad district on Friday.— Photo: S. Harpal Singh
Visually-challenged tribal children learning Braille at Vikasam in Utnoor in Adilabad district on Friday

Vikasam, a new school for special children, trains them to acquire skills free of cost

If you want to find a happy bunch of special children, and tribals at that, come to Utnoor, the headquarters for tribal welfare in Adilabad district. Vikasam, the new school for special children of tribal people, located in the Kumram Bheem complex, is the world where the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) is facilitating education of such children aiming at their empowerment.

“They belong to the poorest of the poor tribal families and were practically a burden on them,” states ITDA Project Officer R.V. Karnan as he talks of the circumstances which led to the establishment of the facility. “The parents are financially relieved now and they are also happy as the children will eventually end up in the mainstream,” he adds.

“Yes, I am a much relieved person as all three of my sons with speech disability have joined the school. They are now leading a better life right in front of me,” observes Kumra Suguna, who herself was given the job of ayah at Vikasam thereby ensuring that the inmates do not miss out on compassion.

Vikasam came into being about 4 months ago, modelled upon a similar school, Sakshyam, in the tribal area of Dantewada. It now has 80 special children on its rolls of whom many are school dropouts while 64 of them, all boys, with mental, hearing and visual disabilities as inmates.

The population of persons with various kinds of disabilities in this district is 45,000, the total population being about 28 lakh.

Of the 5 lakh tribal population, 7,500 persons have disabilities and about 80 per cent of them are orthopaedically disabled.

“Our focus is on the remaining 20 per cent with other disabilities. It is they who need special attention,” Mr. Karnan says of the rationale behind starting Vikasam.

The initiative is a rare attempt as tribal special children in Adilabad, even elsewhere in the country, had so far formed part of the general disabled category of citizens. The new school finally turned out to be a state-of-art facility with even the tiles in the building being tactile type and students using smart canes besides the excellent kitchen.

It boasts of teachers trained in relevant specialities and teach Braille to the students with vision impairment in addition to using playing and learning material for those who have mental disability. It has an excellent audiometry laboratory for children with hearing impairment and hearing aid are supplied free of cost by well known institutions like the National Institute of Visually Handicapped, the National Institute of Mentally Handicapped etc.

Source : The Hindu , 30th Jan 2016 

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