No respite for students with hearing impairment in Dolakha

Dolakha, June 7

Laxmi Shrestha, 24, a woman with hearing impairment, of Lakuridanda Rural Municipality, would have been awaiting the result of the Secondary Education Examination (SEE) these days in Dolakha if the April 2015 earthquake had not brought misfortune in her life.

Laxmi has been studying in Grade two at Bhimeshwor Primary Deaf School in Dolakha. This is the only school, which conducts classes for persons with hearing impairment in the district. Before the devastating earthquake of 2015, she was studying in Grade eight at Sindhu Deaf Lower Secondary School at Barhabishe of Sindhupalchowk. As her parents didn’t want to keep her away from the family, she returned to the village. However, her zeal to continue her study didn’t die. As a result, she joined class two in the deaf school of her district.

“The economic condition of our family is very miserable. There is no possibility of going out of the home district. Hence, I  am obliged to join here,” said Shreshta.

She added she wanted to join class to stay with friends who had similar problems at school instead of staying with parents at home, doing nothing. “I feel embarrassed and disappointed at not being able to learn anything new. I feel as if I am deprived of further education. People progress in their life but I am lagging behind. If I had got to study at least for two years then, I would have been waiting for my SEE result at present. When will I appear for the SEE and when will I begin a job? I have lost several opportunities in my life due to the lack of education,” lamented Shrestha.

There are as many as 35 students with hearing impairment at Bhimeshwor Primary Deaf School, ranging from 16 to 24 years. However, many persons with hearing impairment in the district have been deprived of education due to lack of schools suitable for their age and competence. Students studying at this school are children who have lost their one or both parents, persons with hearing impairment and persons with speech impairment. Due to space crunch, the school is compelled to run two classes in a single room at a time.

“We conduct early childhood education in the open as construction of the classrooms is under way,” said head teacher Bidhya Karki. She herself is deaf. She said if the school could be promoted to Lower Secondary Level, a number of children would benefit. She said the school was facing financial crunch. “We have been facing a hard time as the quota teacher can’t use sign language,” said head teacher Karki.