'Special learning for special children' is the motto of the school designed for disabled children in Nitpur Kopalipara of Porsha upazila in Naogaon. The founder of the school, Shahjahan Ali, is a local man who named the school after his late father, Mobarak Hossain.
A total of 12 teachers at the school voluntarily teach 254 students. Shahjahan Ali along with his five brothers established the school in 2013. The school began with only 66 students. Shahjahan’s younger brother Moudud Ahmed is the headmaster of the school.
This Prothom Alo correspondent recently visited the school. Teacher Shameema Khatun was teaching Class III students with various learning aids. In another class, Faruq Ahmed was teaching the students with hearing and speech impairment in sign language.
Another such volunteer teacher is Shafiqul Islam. He graduated from Naogaon Government College.
“I was inspired by Shahjahan Ali and Moudud Ahmed. Initially I faced some difficulties due to lack of knowledge about the teaching process. After undergoing training, I overcame the difficulties,” said Shafiqul.
Mozammel Hossain of Doarpara village said his son Sakhawat Hossain is physically disabled and cannot walk. He is a Class III student of the school.
“He has lot of fun in the school and is upset during vacations,” he added.
Another student, Farzana, has hearing and speech disabilities. She was admitted into the school at the age of 12. She now can speak in sign language, her father told Prothom Alo.
Shahjahan Ali, the headmaster of Kusumkali Government Primary School, spoke about how he projected the idea of the school for disabled children.
“My father was an educationist. I talked to my brothers about establishing a school in our father’s name in the village. A total of 66 students got admission in the school in the first year in 2013,” he said.
Proper education and training can equip these children, Shahjahan said, adding that these children were not burdens to their families. All the teachers of the school have been trained by the Rajshahi Disability Development Organisation to better serve and support the disabled children.
Meanwhile, with the help of the administration and minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder, the infrastructure problems of the school have been resolved. However, more teaching materials are needed to provide modern education to the children. The district administration provided two battery-run school vans for the students. He sought the help of the administration and the people of the society to run the school well.
Upazila social services officer Shafiqul Islam said, several students of the school are provided with monthly allowances from the social service office. They have also appealed to the authorities to solve other issues.
Deputy commissioner Haroon-or-Rashid visited the school and was overwhelmed by such initiative in such a remote place.
The administration will offer all support for the development of the school, he assured.
*This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat