Darshan School near Jaipur helps bring hearing-impaired children into mainstream society

The school mainly helps children from poor families, offering hearing aids, and special education to improve communication skills through phonetics and sign language

July 08, 2023 06:16 pm | Updated 06:16 pm IST - JAIPUR

Hearing impaired children attending a class at Darshan School in Sanganer near Jaipur.

Hearing impaired children attending a class at Darshan School in Sanganer near Jaipur. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Aarti Bairwa, 19, lost her ability to hear when she fell down the stairs in her modest house in Shivdaspura on the outskirts of Jaipur during the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago. Barely able to manage the classes at the government school where she was studying, she was soon asked to shift to another school where she could be given special assistance in view of her disability.

The teenage girl was brought by her father, who works in a local factory, to the Darshan School for hearing impaired children, where she was admitted in the primary section. Having been trained in the use of hearing aids which she wears in the school hours, Aarti is now studying in Class VIII and scoring good marks, and hopes she can join mainstream society with the education she is recieving.

Phonetics training

The special school, situated in the Bambala Institutional Area at Sanganer, near Jaipur, has improved the lives of a large number of hearing impaired children belonging to below poverty line (BPL) families since 2007. Several students of Darshan School have joined mainstream schools and colleges after going through the rigorous training in which their basic phonetics are improved and they acquire skills for communication.

Former Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, who heads the charitable trust which runs the school, told The Hindu that the special education provided free of charge at the school had enabled the families of children with disability to realise their potential to excel in their lives. The children from underprivileged families also appear in the Rajasthan State Secondary Education Board’s examination regularly.

Trained staff

Over 85 students are at present enrolled in the school, where they study up to Class X. They are given two hearing aids to wear during the school hours to assist in learning. The 10 teachers on the staff have been certified by the Rehabilitation Council of India, having undergone training courses to educate disabled children.

Umang Karsekar, 16, and Suraj Bairwa, 13, residing in the nearby Vatika locality, are among the brightest students in Darshan School. The school’s director H. Latif said that teachers would pay special attention to them in the new academic session which had started from June 24. “We are also getting midday meals from Akshaya Patra Foundation. After the food supply was stopped during the pandemic, we took care to give additional nourishment to children,” he said.

Job placements

In a significant achievement, the school has started getting employment for senior students, who are given free training in computer operations, at hotels and in private institutions, including the jewellery-making businesses. Mr. Latif said that these students included the hearing impaired boys coming to the school from the Government Anandi Lal Poddar Institute of Deaf, Dumb and Blind for the computer training. The youths are sent for jobs in pairs to enable them to communicate with each other in sign language and apprise others of the difficulties they face.

Mr. Latif said since many hearing-impaired children struggled with memory and retention, using visual aids to teach them was helpful. Teachers are reassessed and revalidated every five years in these methods, he said. Regular yoga, sports, art, craft and other extracurricular activities also assist in the personality development of children.

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