Away from the limelight amidst the busy chaotic world lies a haven for those sections of society who are often left ignored and rejected by the mainstream world.
However, it is often this minority group of people who prove to the world that even if they may have been made to feel rejected, they are no longer going to be suppressed due to their abilities. Right here, in the middle mainstream Shillong is the Bethany Society that houses the Jyoti Sroat School.
The school nurtures all those sections of the society who are not considered the creamy layer of mainstream and rural civilization. These students are mostly differently abled and some are those that are even rejected by their parents due to their inability to deal with these children. Hence they get them admitted into the school which has its doors open for all children irrespective of their abilities.
This year, Jyoti Sroat School has recorded 100 per cent pass percentage in both the SSLC and HSSLC examinations. The students who appeared for the examinations were all differently abled – blind, deaf, mute with or without locomotive disability and the likes.
Amidst this achievement of the school, TNT-The Northeast Today spoke to two such students with visual disability who successfully cleared their class X and XII examinations.
Donning a graceful smile on her face, Gloria Lyngdoh a student of Jyoti Sroat School recently cleared her SSLC Examinations with Maths, Health Education, Science, Social Studies, English and MIL. Beaming with optimism, she says that she wishes to further continue with her education.
She has been a part of Bethany Society for nine years now and she is a happy person as the Society has given her a world that would accept her just way she is with all her variations and talents.
Just like Gloria, Amabilis Mulieh has cleared her twelfth board examinations this year with English, Khasi, Education, History, Political Science and Sociology as her subjects.
She deems all subjects as equal and hopes to become a graduate one day.
She has been a part of the Bethany Society since the age of 3 years and has found a manifestation of a home-like atmosphere in this haven for the under privileged where they are treated like kings and queens.
Both these students have used Braille as a method for preparing their examinations. They know their world through their fingers!
Often, amidst the lust for success and extraordinary achievements, we move too far from the simple realities of life. However, it is these simple realities that make our lives worth living.
In the hullabaloo of the SSLC and HSSLC results declared recently, the achievements of the students were highlighted in ways more than one, but the real achievers are the ones, who despite their disabilities prove themselves to be able and at par with the mainstream student community.
Behind their smiles and achievements however, lies the hardwork and toil of the extraordinary teachers who leave no stone unturned to make these students capable and worthy of earning a living for themselves after the end of their educational phase.
Miss Rosa Wahlang, principal of Jyoti Sroat School is a lady who beams with positivity and positivity is what she imparts to the students as well. “Love what you do”, she says as she interacts with one of her student who is blind as well as mute. Each and every teacher at Jyoti Sroat School is skilled in Sign Language and ensuring the students’ happiness is their topmost priority.
However, the biggest question in this context is “What after graduation?”; “Where will these students pursue further education after graduation?” Certain colleges have already started implementing the “Inclusive Education Plan” that provides equal educational opportunities to all despite their abilities. However, there are still certain educational institutions that do not provide opportunities to these students on the basis of their abilities. Either they are ignorant enough or they choose to ignore their abilities.
It is high time that we, the mainstream society start accepting them as part of our own and let them flourish in whatever manner possible. Inclusiveness is the only solution and it is certainly not a hard thing to achieve! It is time to recognize, invite and accept them into our lives.
By Shweta Raj Kanwar