Sunday Peek-a-boo to another world with Umang Foundation
Ajai Srivastava: “Kami hai nahi but samaaj kabhi kami mehsus na karaye is liye hume in baccho ke liye kuch karna chaiye…”
Last week I called up Ajai Srivastava Sir as I wanted to meet some university girls for an article. He told me that this Sunday Umang Foundation is organizing a small welcome ceremony for some disabled girls in Portmore School, and the girls I am looking for will be volunteering there. I was clueless about what was going to happen there. Finally, it was Sunday and we reached the venue at sharp 4:10 pm.
What we saw there was totally different to me. Ajai Sir was standing in front of some kids who were busy with their own activities. Some beautiful girls were interacting with each other using their hands and facial expressions. Soon we entered a room where some young volunteers were filling some forms. When I talked to them and they told me that they were filling the hostel forms of the girls.
I took a seat and started interacted with Jagdish Ram uncle and his wife Saroj devi from Bilaspur. They came with their daughter Sapna, who was one of the students. They told me that Sapna is a deaf girl who has taken admission in 11th class. Then I had a word with Kishi aunty who came from Rohru with her daughter Swroopa. Both Sapna and Swroopa are deaf, but I saw them talking in their own sign language. They were sitting with Sakshi, Sonia and Ankita. They could not speak the way I do but in their sign language they were too bubbly and interactive. I was amazed to see them.
Then, Ajai Sir started the welcome speech and I loved the way he told us that, we don’t have to make them special or give them any special treatment. These girls can take care of them and their studies as well. All we have to do is to assure them that we are there with them. He said, “Kami hai nahi but samaaj kabhi kami mehsus na karaye is liye hume in baccho ke liye kuch karna chaiye. Umang foundation samaaj, sarkaar aur in baccho ke beech ka jo gap hai isko bridge karne ka kaam karega.”
Then the principal of Portmore School, Devender Kashyap welcomed the students and he assured the parents that the students will not face any problems in the school and the boarding.
Throughout the speeches, there was Mayaramji, who was communicating with the girls with hearing impairment. Girls were looking at him and they were communicating so well. It was really interesting to see them interacting, and suddenly Mayaramji started talking to Ajai Sir. I looked at him twice, yes he could speak. I was actually captivated. Later, I talked to him and he told me that he is working as a sign language trainer in Dhali School of disabled students. Out of his compassion and love for such kids he opted for this profession. He also told me that sensitization in society for such children is lacking, and if we engage youth in spreading awareness, we can bridge the gap.
Umang Foundation has not only managed to get free education and hostel facilities to 19 girls from all across the state, but also provided them an attendant, Nirmalaji and a special educator, Jyoti. Young and talented, Jyoti is also working as a tutor in Dhali. When I asked her about the difficulties she comes across while teaching these students, she smiled and said, “Baccho ko teach karne me thori difficulties to aati hi hai, but kisi ko to encourage karna hi hoga in baccho ko, to why not me?” She also told me that she is a trained teacher and she will be more than happy to help the students in their studies in the evening.
A peek-a-boo to this totally different world was actually an enthralling experience. In our daily chores we usually forget that we have among us some special creations of God and making them feel inferior on the basis of abilities or disabilities is totally unfair. I am highly thankful to Ajai Sir for letting me this opportunity to have this experience and for the pretty girls out there, you have a new friend now!