Visiting the formerly famous VRCH in Bhubaneswar now National Centre for Skill Enhancement Program, was a great learning. The young professional welcomed us, the three faculty members with a score of students on a field visit lead us to the interior of the building. He initiated with the procedure of selection for the various courses of vocational skill enhancement. During rounds to different sections, we entered the room of electrical home appliances nearly a dozen were involved in practical activity. The trainer in the section took over the task of explaining the details. The trainer was explaining while the young professional pointed to a keenly involved worker with locomotor disability in the group and said he was a student in the same section, and is a trainee at present. Called him to explain about the work he is doing. As he was in between his work, surrounded by a group of keenly observing students, said he will complete it and come forth to explain. Probably he felt that his explanation wasn’t required as we were already introduced to the type of skill or maybe he wasn’t comfortable to come out distinguishably and explain or he felt that he was being called without purpose. He continued his work with single minded devotion. Something we need to learn. He demonstrated ‘work is worship’ without much ado.
Next visit was to a tailoring room. Young girls with hearing impairment dominated the group. I was walking around the section and stopped near one girl just to listen to the explanation being given by the tutor there. She immediately offered her chair to me which I did not accept. She made me accept it through her gestures to the extent that I could not refuse. After I sat, she took another chair from the room and sat on it. Such gestures are very rare to find with the population now a days. The hospitality and generocity she exhibited was too embarrassing to an ordinary person like me, I asked myself would I be doing this for someone? There was no sign of impersonal feeling towards a stranger, she was doing it just for a fellow human being. They accept us the strangers as their loved ones, showing care and concern for us.
A girl with low vision was standing close to me in Dr. Reddy’s foundation and listening. When I touched a chair facing the opposite side to the speaker, the girl immediately rotated it in 360 degree to make it to face the speaker. She understood that I was intending to sit to listen to the person in the section who was addressing us. What was unique was that it was done without putting forth the impression that any help was being extended. I was amazed by the dedication, solidarity and promptness to respond to someone’s unexpressed need.
A person with visual impairment was training a newly admitted girl in computer application section. When he was asked to open a word file, he immediately did so and types his name on it, so spontaneous, no hesitation, do doubt, no confusion. Fully confidant, maturity oozing in his actions. I interacted with him regarding his prior education and came to know that he has a bachelors in music and presently pursuing masters in music. When we showed our keenness to listen to him sing, without requiring persuasion he started a Hindi song. His presence of mind was such that the song echoed his concealed feelings when he went on….…jag ne cheena mujhse, jo chaaha tha mai ne ….. which made all of us look into each other’s eyes in appreciation and avoid at the same time to hide the thin film of moisture most of us had unknowingly. Such was the melody in his voice and the emotional expression in a very confidant, steady gait.
There is LOT to learn from people with disability around us. The benefit of inclusive education is that we get people from diverse backgrounds living with us from whom we can learn ‘life’. Just being exposed to them is a learning experience. It is invaluable for children during their formative years. The humane qualities embedded in the people with disabilities are beyond imagination. I am convinced that inclusive education is an excellent opportunity to reflect and reciprocate to fill the society with love, care and compassion.
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