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International Day of Sign Language
Contribution of Abhedananda Home Srinagar -for educating deaf & mute children in sign language since 1975
By: M Ahmad
The UN General Assembly has proclaimed 23 September as the International Day of Sign Languages in order to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf. It recognizes the importance of preserving sign languages as part of linguistic and cultural diversity. This day marks the birth of an advocacy organisation, which has as one of its main goals, the preservation of sign languages and deaf culture as pre-requisites to the realisation of the human rights of deaf people. Sign languages are full-fledged natural languages, structurally distinct from the spoken languages and according to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are more than 70 million deaf people worldwide and collectively, they use more than 300 different sign languages.
Abhedananda Home at Solina, Rambagh, Srinagar, Kashmir is the oldest Institution in J&K using sign language to teach hearing and speech impaired (deaf & mute) children. It was established in 1941 as a residential home for Specially-abled children by Sawami Abhedananda to provide vocational training to Specially-abled persons. The training was imparted in making cane chair, candles etc and also in music but as of now it is the only Higher Secondary Institution in J&K for Speech and Hearing Impaired (Deaf & Mute) and Visually Impaired (Blind) children. The Institution now offers free of charges, formal and vocational education to nearly 100 deaf and mute children from Nursery to class 12th. It stands affiliated with J&K Board of School Education, Srinagar and also provides vocational education in Computer, Music, Art & Drawing, Painting and Cutting & Tailoring.
From old and simple class rooms to smart rooms, the institution is equipped with Group Speech lab, Computer Lab, Vocational training Lab for deaf and mute children and as of now water purifiers and modern type wash rooms are available there for better health care of these children.
The Institution has created hundreds of pass outs of class 10th, 11th and 12th with flying colors achieving distinctions and good positions. A good number of pass outs have been provided jobs in Private, Public and Government Departments and Financial Institutions.
Not only in academics, the institution has also trained and endorsed students to become best deaf and mute sports players and artists. The players and the artists were felicitated by the Honb’le Justice Ali Mohammad Magray, District Commissioner Srinagar and District Social Welfare Officer, Srinagar at various events endorsing their achievements. Some of the deaf children have played at National and International levels too.
For the welfare of children here, the University of Kashmir and USHA International Ltd is operating vocational courses at this Institution which are free of cost for the students of the Institution as well as other children of the vicinity. The courses are of 03 months duration in “Cutting & Tailoring”, “Computer Basics” and “Tally”. These courses are offered to further add to the ability of these children.
The Institution is often visited by various officers and other office bearers from J&K Administration, CRC, Police, CRPF, Army and NCC who provide assistance that may be required by the Institution.
he Institution was taken over by the Government vide Government order No 161 of 2018 and subsequently DSWK took the charge of the Institution. The Institution is waiting for concrete steps to be taken by the Social Welfare Department for the welfare of students and the staff working there to make it a Model Institution for Specially-abled children especially for deaf and mute.
It is to be remembered that Sign language is the noblest blessing God has given to hard of hearing individuals. Why not learn this language and spread love.
The writer is Incharge Abhedananda Home-Higher Secondary Institution for Specially-abled Children, Solina, Rambagh, Srinagar, Kashmir email:[email protected]