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Special school forges ahead despite hurdles

Jorhat, Nov. 30: It’s a school that has 137 students but hardly 30-35 turn up for classes on a given day because most of the children’s parents are too poor to waste precious “earning” time on their child. And all 137 of these children are “special” — physically challenged, deaf or mute.

But the Titabar Physically Handicapped Deaf and Dumb School and Training Centre is looking forward to the New Year with hope.

The non-government organisation, which has been working with physically challenged and deaf and mute children in Titabar sub-division of Jorhat district since 2006, will soon get a brand new multi-storied school building with hostel facilities, the construction of which is under way using funds sanctioned by chief minister Tarun Gogoi.

The organisation’s secretary, Mukunda Bora, said the chief minister had sanctioned Rs 25 lakh and added that the construction of the base and pillars of the news school building were complete.

The three-storied building will have three classrooms each on the first two floors and hostels for boys and girls separately on the top floor.

“At present, we are imparting formal education till Class VII and once this new building is complete, we will open up Class VIII and this will make it a middle English school,” Bora said.

Currently, the children are taught in a thatched house divided into classrooms and a training area for those above 18 years of age.

“Though we have 137 students, hardly 30-35 of them turn up on a given day. Most of the parents cannot afford to bring their wards to school every day, as both go out and work. We had found through a survey conducted in the area that there are about 900 challenged people here,” he said.

Narrating the genesis of the school, Bora said prior to the registration of the NGO, there was a physically handicapped association. It was on the suggestion of N.S. Haq, then commandant of 3 Assam Police Battalion, that the NGO was formed in 2006 and the school was established.

“In the training centre we teach them tailoring, weaving and bamboo and cane crafts. We have two trainers and four teachers — two specially trained from Tura in Meghalaya to teach the deaf and mute. While Krishna teaches cane and bamboo crafts, Dipali Saikia teaches tailoring and since most of us know how to handle the loom, we teach anyone who wishes to learn it,” he said.

The organisation is also planning to do something different on December 3 — World Disabled Day.

“In previous years, we used to hold a quiz, a drawing contest and different games. This year, we will just hold a function and ask the pupils to sing, dance and perform whatever they can,” Bora said.