PADMINI B. PATELL

Ugadi was enjoyed by the differently –abled children in a unique way.

Dhoom 2008, an Ugadi celebration was held by the Deaf Art and Cultural Society (DACS). The children in the age group of 7 to 12 were thrilled as the audience appreciated their programme by clapping with both arms raised and shaking. Nine-year-old Zoheth, dressed as Shiva, bagged the first prize and signed, “I study in Ankur Vidyamandir School for the Handicapped and this was my mother’s idea.”

The Chief Guest Mathew Joseph, said, “as DGM Corporate Communication, Andhra Bank it is I who feel handicapped today unable to communicate in sign language.

” DACS is a non-profit organisation started in 1996 with the objective of providing a platform for hearing impaired artists of Andhra Pradesh in various cultural fields. They promote an awareness of the abilities, talents and skills of their 200 odd members.

Enthusiastic

To cater to the hearing impaired children in Andhra Pradesh there are 16 government and 25 private schools. In these institutions trained teachers are few, the dropout rate especially among girls is high and opportunities for higher education limited. Only a small percentage of hearing impaired children are integrated into the regular schools.

At the employment level an insignificant one per cent reservation is made available for them. Yet the talent and enthusiasm among this active group of people is to be seen to be believed – be it dance, drama, mimicry or sports they are ever ready to participate.

For equal opportunity sign language should gain the status of a spoken language.

For information regarding deaf artists and facilities for the hearing impaired SMS 9866182018 or email jayaram_1962@rediffmail.com.