Despite us going out of our way to make them feel comfortable, we sometimes make a point blank differentiation between ourselves and those with disabilities. For the hearing and speech impaired, life is no piece of cake with everyone always treating them differently – miming to them, using exaggerated hand movements and starting to speak and then stop abruptly, looking peevish.
Well it’s time to make them feel one with us and this is exactly what Bukkaraya Samudram or BKS as it is better known, is aiming to do. Situated in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh BKS is a one of a kind institution, sanctioned by the Rural Development Trust (RDT) and established in 2008, to support and guide children with hearing and speech impairments.
The School offers a variety of academic and non-academic courses to the differently-disabled students, to help lift their morale and encourage them to accommodate themselves across the fences.
The values inculcated by RTD have been the key inspiration in carrying forth all the activities that take place in the School. The best part of this Institution is that makes it stand out from other similar centres of learning, is the fact that they hold sensitisation workshops for the families and friends of these students, to help and make them understand their enormous potential, despite being called ‘handicapped’.
Another factor that they have recently introduced in the curriculum is sports training. Although, sports training could be deemed under ‘academic’ by some, it is its non-theoretical and non-desktop learning characteristic that is attracting more of these students to the School.
BKS contains most of the mandatory requirements of a School offering an education in Sports – a cricket ground, a tennis court, a volleyball court, a basketball court, indoor halls for badminton and chess as well as a play-area for younger children.
Along with academic and sports training, the students are also involved in various cultural activities and handicraft training.
How the structure works: For the first five to six years of Primary School, the students are taught all subjects and are encouraged to hone their skills and discover their aptitude for a particular set of activities, which they will continue to participate in once they pass onto secondary schools. It is during this time that students discover how their education and participation in various activities, will help determine their futures.
The idea to expose these students to sports and personality development activities infuses these brave souls with a sense of inbred confidence and by allowing them to choose their own activities and subjects, gives them a sense of belonging and independence.
The students of BKC participate in Unified Sports, which is a sports initiative where differently-abled and abled individuals compete against one another. This initiative is encouraged greatly by all foreseers, because the former are not sheltered and typecasted, but encouraged to realize their true potential by competing against their able-bodied counterparts. The BKS students have managed to secure quite a few wins for themselves, especially in cricket, where the team won thrice in a row!
Not to stop just there, 49 of former BKS students have gone on to participate at the National Level for sports like cricket, athletics and chess. One of the former students, Pranusha Rani, even represented India at the South Asian Championship for Chess held in the year 2009.
BKC students have managed to blow minds with their superior skills in dance, drama and clay modelling as well. Out of these, nine have even won the prestigious Navaras Bharath Rajahansa Award, for their skills in classical dance.
This extremely rounded form of education coupled with new-age techniques and moderations, has produced students of some of the highest set-skills in the country, and has humbled us into believing, that there isn’t and should never be, any difference between them and us.
The motto to this prestigious and remarkable institution with its initiative of pursuing a unique system of education should be- We are all one and the same. So don’t ever think otherwise.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory)