Special children at the Uditayan classroom at Hindpiri middle school in Ranchi on Monday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Call it a baby step towards understanding special learning needs.
Uditayan, a unique classroom for differently abled children launched by Jharkhand Education Project Council (JEPC) under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan two months ago, today has nine dedicated pupils.
These children of destiny, who are aged between six and 14 years, troop to their kaleidoscopic classroom at Hindpiri middle school every day from Bundu, Angara, Lapung, Bedo and Kanke blocks.
Their mentors use toys, pictures, flash cards, models and charts to educate them on alphabets, numbers, fruits and vegetables.
From poetry to prose; from the calendar to the national Tricolour; from states to their capital cities; and from place of religious importance to various districts of Jharkhand the fun-filled syllabus includes all.
And they sure are learning fast.
Humko kavita atti hai (I can recite poems), said eight-year-old Dipchand Lohra, exhibiting how his sharp memory and eloquence dwarfed his physical shortcomings.
Thirteen-year-old Ganesh Lohra, who is also physically challenged like Dipchand, expressed his enthusiasm: Humko photo banana achcha lagta hai aur padhai karna bhi.
Uditayan teacher Dilip Kumar pointed out that these special children were born to mostly poor parents who are illiterate and make a living as daily wage labourers.
They never received proper attention at home. Let alone education, these children never get a square meal to eat and clothes to wear. Here, we are trying to impart basic education with models and pictures. The objective is prepare them for the world they will soon step into, Kumar said.
Another Uditayan teacher Poonam Jha said she felt privileged to be a part of this exclusive centre. We are using play therapy with these children to help them develop concepts about their surroundings. We are preparing them for social communication. They are able to read and write. They are more confident, she added.
All play makes these children special performers too.
At the recent disability day athletics meet held at Zilla School, physically challenged Babloo Lohra (8) won the cup in the 50m race as did deaf and mute Kamdev Munda (9) and Kameshwar Sahu (11).
The other equally talented students of Uditayan are Sonu Sahu (7), Rinku Minz (9) and Vijay Bedia (12), who are all mentally challenged.