Motivated youngsters who promise to make a difference.
My mother is a volunteer to a few agencies which work for social causes. One that came her way was a deaf school. After Prisha's birth there were days she cried for hours and refused to go again to the school . Not her fault, 3 grand daughters with different disabilities, dealing with the emotions was so tough. As Prisha grew and she saw her speaking, hope that all would be normal, got her on track. She told the school about how we manged to get Prisha oral, interested the school and they asked me to come and talk about what we do. I had been postponing it due to my own inability to be there as I now moved here. This visit to India , I promised myself that I would definitely visit them.
As the school was closing for Christmas, I wasn't expecting any kids at school. But I took Prisha with me and walked in. The principal showed little interest. My mother's friend is a volunteer and he was very keen for some changes at school. He was very motivated looking at Prisha and was keen that we could motivate to make some changes at school. He had given me a dismal picture of school and looking at the school authorities, I was really thinking that I made a mistake perhaps as they showed no interest. Saying is one thing, doing is another.
I walked around the school and talked to the teacher who was showing us around. When she heard our journey, she was fascinated suddenly suggested that in the absence of kids, I should speak with the teachers. The teachers entered very lazily and I really had no expectations.Soon I started my talk about our journey and I saw a change in them. They seemed interested and soon I had them involved in my lecture and they wanted me to come again the next day to talk to a wider audiences. They clapped and suddenly very motivated to work with the deaf kids.
The next day we got ready and prepared Prisha to say a Sanskrit prayer and an English song to show the 3-400 people I was going to address. Soon Xmas celebrations started. There were 80 kids of grade 8 with 4 teachers from a normal school who had come in to interact with the signing kids. It was eerie to see the deaf kids dancing to silence, practiced moves through visual learning. The other kids put music and danced with them too. The kids signed and there were those difficult moments we all faced when we saw how difficult it was for normal kids to understand what these deaf kids were trying to communicate. I watched silently, wishing in my mind that these kids talk to if they were given the right advise. I came across a few desperate parents who were told about my daughter talking. they came looking for solutions and magic tricks that could help their kids to talk to. So many mal-practices and so many wrong advises by specialists spoilt the life of these families. They looked longingly at us. Something in my heart snapped too.I gave them all the inputs I could give and also the name of our blog and you tube. The teachers were waiting to hear me again and looked after me like a celebrity.
After the interaction of the kids, I was asked to come on stage and talk.I said to the audiences that they saw one world where they feel that the deaf are mute too, but now was going to make them aware of another fact....deaf can talk too. There was silence. I asked Prisha to come and sing the verse and then her English song. After her song, there was utter silence and what followed was loud clapping. I then talked about how deaf can talk, our journey and how we blog to make a small difference specially in India where so much wrong is happening. I needed support to spread the message that we need to seek correct solutions and needed to question the specialists to get the right help what we deserve. The lecture ended with a standing ovation and thunderous clapping and the teachers and students promised to spread our message. That day I earned many supporters and admirers. Very humbling it was. The chief volunteer announced 3 prizes for teachers who are able to make special attempts to make students talk, inspired by us.The teachers were ready to take help from us. One teacher ,deeply motivated, requested me to come to her class of deaf kids to talk to them.I was a bit taken aback as I knew no signs. She was keen so I went in. I saw very happy kids from 5-15 yrs of age waiting eagerly. I started to talk and the teacher translated. It was so heart wrenching when some looked at Prisha talking and expressed their desire to talk too. Some mentioned how they missed normal life and find it difficult to deal with daily life and have to have someone assist them when they go out. We discussed about issues they face and they cheered for us and their happiness and spirit was addictive. That was a very touching experience and made me feel very humble. I have been asked to come and visit the teachers each time I visit Delhi and motivate them to sincerely help the deaf kids. The volunteer had updated me with all the issues at school and it was clear that it needed sincere upheaval.I was deeply moved when kids from Appeejay school at Delhi were so motivated to spread my message too.They promised to talk about deafness and spread awareness too about it.I hope these youngsters make that difference in some one's life.
I really hope I am able to make ,even if small, difference. Even if some parent gets motivated to work with their kid and not give up on their deaf child, some teacher who pushes the deaf child enough, or some student who would spread the message around that....deaf can talk, would be something I would be grateful for. So much to do in the world, one just needs to go out and spend time to show the support. I don't know if I could or would do something, but even if there is more awareness that would help people seek for answers, my mission to spread the message would be achieved.