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Garia school for special kids reopens with help from NGO

Calcutta Social Project revives institution that shut in April owing to funds crunch

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 16.09.22, 07:23 AM
Children at Dhankhet Vidyalaya for Special Children

Children at Dhankhet Vidyalaya for Special Children

Telegraph picture

A group of children with special needs whose school had shut down are back at school again thanks to an NGO that has revived it.

Dhankhet Vidyalaya for Special Children at Nalgorahat, about 4km from Garia, was closed from April to July this year and the children had nowhere to go while other students returned to class after over two years.


Their parents, most of them rickshaw van pullers or domestic workers, did not have the wherewithal to search for a new school for their children.

A cloud of uncertainty hung over the future of the children.

Calcutta Social Project (CSP), which works with women and children, was approached by the organisation that owns the premises of the school.

The school came back to life, enabling over 25 children with special needs to get back to reading, writing and other activities.

The school has been operating in Nalgorahat, on premises owned by Dhankhet Bidyalaya Gram Unayan Samiti.

The school was run by another organisation that withdrew in March, 2022.

“The parents approached us to restart the school. For most of these parents, it is not possible to travel far and take their children to another institution. They do small jobs for a living,” said Samsuddin Khan, secretary of Dhankhet Bidyalaya Gram Unnayan Samiti, which owns the premises.

“We do not have the resources to run it. So, we started looking for organisations who could run it for us and CSP agreed,” said Khan.

After an initial assessment, Calcutta Social Project understood that the school had “tremendous goodwill” in the locality.

“The locality and the guardians were desperate that the school be restarted. Other than learning how to deal with life better, the children were happy and found company in their hours spent in school,” said Arjun Dutta, president of CSP.

The closure of the school for a prolonged period had had a shattering effect on the children and brought despair to the parents, said several parents.

But before taking on the responsibility of running the school both financially and operationally, the challenge was finding people with the expertise to run a special school.

“Since specially-abled children was not a core competency of Calcutta Social Project, we made it clear that our decision to intervene (in the interest of the children) would depend on the availability of the expert supervision and monitoring,” said Dutta.

The school that reopened in August is doing well so far with limited resources.

Last updated on 16.09.22, 07:23 AM

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