M. Manasa, class VII student of Chitlapakkam High School, said she would send a post card to her school headmaster writing that she had enjoyed her trip to the post office.

A.Nijad Sayeed, also in Class VII at Sri Ayyasamy Ayyar Middle School in Chromepet, said he often sent letters to his friend in Pulianthope, but this was the first time he had visited a post office.

Their excitement followed a visit to the Chitlapakkam Post Office opposite the school. “Unlike other students, children with disability are often confined within either their homes or classrooms and hence the initiative to take them to the post office so the students could understand how it functioned, how letters were sorted and then dispatched,” S.Gunasekaran, Supervisor, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Rural), on the concluding day of a three-day personality development programme for 50 students with disability recently.

The students in classes between VI and VIII, going to government and aided schools in the southern suburbs of Chennai, attended the programme at St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union Primary School in Chitlapakkam near Tambaram. The students are from both the Urban and Rural wings of the Panchayat Union.

A.Philip Raj and S.Sumathi, special educators, said students were trained using the ‘joyful learning' method. They were given basic yoga exercises, physical training, exposed to life skills and some students were provided physiotherapy According to Block Resource Teacher Educators, a school bag, a geometry box, crayons, drawing sheets and a lunch box were given to each of the 50 children who had attended the training programme. A sum of Rs. 400 for each student was sanctioned by SSA for the programme. At present, nearly 750 children with disability are enrolled in government and aided schools in the southern suburbs with 50 of them attending two day-care centres attached to government schools in Medavakkam and Pallavaram. This training programme would be extended in phases to cover all of them.

Keywords: Chennai