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Bengaluru’s oldest deaf school celebrates 50 years of empowering the community

September 30, 2018

Sheila Kothavala Institute for Deaf (SKID) is known and loved among Bengaluru's disabled community as they have remained committed to the cause of empowering people with hearing disabilities for 50 years now.

Started in the 1960s by Aban and her mother, as the Deaf Aid Society, the first SKID centre had 60 children. Today they have nearly 150 kids. studying from kindergarten to class 10.

Students study under the Karnataka state syllabus and are given pre-vocational training in computers along with learning crafts like tailoring, making handmade products and so on. Communication skills are given priority. Apart from teaching students the Indian Sign Language, they are also taught on how to use voice for communication.

Jessy Samuel has been a part of SKID for 30 years. She became principal in 2004 and says the students have made the school proud.

Many of our students work in companies, government and private. Until around 10 years back, there was hardly any awareness about deafness. Things have changed now. More parents are ensuring that their child joins school by the age of four. Our students come from various parts of Bengaluru. - Jessy Samuel, Principal, Sheila Kothavala Institute for Deaf.

SKID is a government-aided school, yet funds are not adequate. The children come from economically poor backgrounds and hence SKID does not charge fees.

"Most times, deafness is caused when family members marry amongst themselves. For instance, in South India, there is a culture of uncles marrying their nieces and cousins getting married. The child that is born will have some kind of disability. We are trying to focus on that and create awareness amongst parents", adds Jessy.

Today, their alumni are placed in companies like Accenture and Wipro. Many work in the retail sector as well. One was recently promoted to the post of a manager at Cafe Coffee Day. The best part about passing out from SKID is that you are able to get a good job and stand on your own feet.

ALSO READ: Asianet News has news in sign language to honour International Day of Sign Language

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