Abandoned school now hope for disabled

Abandoned school now hope for disabled

The lower primary school at Kapikad has been catering to the needs of disabled children. DH photo/Author

As one enters this government school at Kapikad near Thokkottu, one can not hear the voice of the students echoing nor the classrooms buzzing with activities. The school bell no longer rings as the school has been closed down owing to shortage of students in 2008. However, the school building has become a ray of hope for the disabled children of Mangalore taluk as the education department has converted the school building into Samanvaya Shikshana Sampanmoola Kendra for the entire Mangalore taluk.

In fact, the lower primary school at Gandhinagar in Kapikad has a history of over 100 years. It was Kudmal Ranga Rao who started the school realising the fact that Dalits can not come to the mainstream of the society without education. Over the years, the number of students getting enrolled to the school declined and the school was closed down. In 2008, the school had five kids. Though locals tried to save the school from closing down by pursuading the parents to enrol their kids to the school, all their efforts went in vain.

After the closure of the school, the school has been converted into Samanvaya Shikshana Sampanmoola Kendra under Sarva Shikshana Abhiyana.

The centre caters to the needs of 24 children from Mangalore taluk.  The centre is the biggest centre with 7 clusters coming under its jurisdiction. There are six ‘samanvaya shikshana sampanmoola’ teachers in the centre.

Two Physiotherapists and two speech therapists from Justice K S Hegde Hospital visit the Centre and treat the children with disability.

“Most of the children who visit here are completely disabled, unable to walk and speak. Parents carry them to the centre and get them treated daily. Atleast four to five kids are brought for treatment here,” says a teacher, speaking to City Herald.

The children are given Rs 200 per month as travel allowance.  Kids like Mumin (11) of Manjeshwar, Bhavyashri of Kumpala, Srajana, Mohammed Anwar and Arjun were not able to walk before entering the portals of this centre. However, now one can see slight improvement. Mumin can walk by holding the wall. Mohammed Anwar can not see as well.
However, he has made lot of improvement after visiting the centre, she added.

“My child was completely bedriddern. However, after I started taking her to the Centre for treatment, I can see slight improvement. She can lift her hand with the physiotherapy treatment. However, now she is suffering from fever and it might take atleast one month to recover,” said Veena, another parent.

The government has provided the centre with special materials needed for the children like wheelchair, shoulder-wheel, thread mill, physiotheraphy bed, parallal bar etc. The Centre also provides money for small corrective sugeries, teacher said.

Home based edn

For students who could not commute to school because of their disability, home-based education has been provided under the “Inclusive Education for the Disabled” scheme of the Sarva Shikshana Abhiyan. About 115 students in the centre were being provided with training by volunteers to help the children develop basic required skills to become self-reliant.

The volunteers who get enrolled with the centre to train such disabled children at home are given training in the centre in Kapikad. They visit houses and give training in basic skills twice a week for three hours. The volunteers are paid Rs 2,000 by the government, sources said.

The Centre is open on all the days except on Sundays and government holidays. The centre will get disabled-friendly toilet soon, the teacher said.

“As this is the only centre in Mangalore taluk under SSA, parents from Gurpur hobli find it difficult to get the child for treatment at Kapikad,” said a resource person, on condition of anonymity.

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