Volume 2 Issue 55 | April 11 , 2009 |


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Guru Griho

From Pabna

Learning with Disability

Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu

OVER 300 handicapped male and female students are fortunate enough to have a school in Pabna just for them. The Society for the Welfare of the Intellectually Disabled (SWID), Bangladesh has taken initiative towards training and educating these men and women. All the students of SWID Bangladesh are physically or mentally disabled.

SWID, Bangladesh, was established in Shalgaria village of Pabna district in 1985. In the beginning the school taught just four children. Dr. Sabirul Islam, a social worker of the district established the school here in 1985, school sources said. Activities of the school expanded later.

Now two schools of SWID Bangladesh are operating in the district headquarters. The main branch of the school is situated in Shalgaria village of the municipality area. 66 disabled male and female students are gaining knowledge and skills here. Another branch of the school was established in 2001 at 'Dapunia' village of Pabna Sadar upazila.

The students here learn not just how to function day to day, they learn technical skills too. “These children often don't have the skills to go through everyday life. We teach them that here. We teach them how to interact with others in a social environment,” said Kalyani Das, a teacher here. We also give them the regular primary school education.

“The school tries to make the students economically productive individuals. For example, they can learn how to do embroidery work. They learn how to do handicrafts. They learn how to work with cloth,” said Manjuara Parvin, another teacher. Currently there are nine teachers at the SWID.

The children also get an education in cultural activities. They learn how to draw, they learn how to dance and other such things. Disabled children can perform in cultural programmes as well.

“We have taught the children keeping in mind their level of ability. Some learn to dance while some learn to paint. Some learn to perform other things. These children have performed in cultural programmes in the district. Some of them have taken part in competitions and won prizes,” said Md. Hasinur Rahman, teacher and accountant of the school.

There are no age restrictions. There are students of all ages here. They are all friends. They are all happy to get this opportunity.

“I can paint and design clothing. This is very big for me. We learn a lot of technical things here, like handicrafts,” said Dolly, a senior student who is a physically handicapped. Another girl, Keya, was drawing. She said the same thing.

During the survey it was learnt that the SWID School is mainly maintained with the financial support of the government and locals. “The government pays 80% of the teachers' salaries. The rest of the total expenditure was borne by members of the committee and others. The members of the SWID, Bangladesh Pabna Unit are maintaining the schools accounts,” said Md. Golam Ali Kaderi, secretary of the SWID, Bangladesh in Pabna Unit.

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