BONGAIGAON, May 26 � Deaf-mute men and women of Bongaigaon district came together to form the Bongaigaon District Association of the Deaf after a meeting at the Railway Institute at Old Colony here to place their grievances before the administration and the State Government.
President Atul Chandra Bez and general secretary Tapan Sutradhar will head the newly-selected 21-member executive body of the association. Bez is a Railway employee in Bongaigaon, while Sutradhar is a teacher of Alphonsa School (for children with disabilities) at Bakhalgaon.
Except the single private school, Alphonsa, run by Christian missionaries, there is no other institution in the district for the differently abled children, said Dipen Dutta, vice president of the association.
Sister Alphi, head in-charge of Alphonsa School established in 2010, trains 65 disabled children in the age group of 3-15 years, using speech and visual therapies with the help of 13 teaching staff members.
�The children who do not respond to therapies are being given skills training for their future rehabilitation,� said Sister Alphi, who was present in the meeting of the association on Sunday.
A local social worker, Prabhat Baisnab, in his address, said, �There are 21 million deaf-mute people as per the 2001 Census in the country and of the total population, the number of deaf-mute persons constitutes 2.1 per cent in the country.� Baisnab mentioned the laws enacted for the welfare and protection of differently abled people in the country and called upon the differently abled to be aware of these legal safeguards. Dipen Dutta said that there are only two Government-run schools, one in Jorhat and the other in Kamrup district, in the State for differently abled children.
�Deaf-mute women face problems in education, marriage and job opportunities. Either education or skills can help them to live their lives well. Our association will chalk out plans and seek government help in this matter,� said Dipen Dutta.
In the meeting, 16-year-old Gitashree Bezbaruah acted as an interpreter between the differently abled members and the invited speakers.