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#ThankYouTeacher – Honouring people who are changing lives of countless disabled students for the better

The focus of September's campaign on NewzHook was on teachers who are making a meaningful difference in the lives of disabled people. Their commitment and dedication have made a significant impact in the lives of thousands of students. Here are the stories.

Cracking the Common Admission Test (CAT) and or banking entrance exams can set you on the path of success and job security. However, many visually impaired aspirants find the prospect intimidating given the multiple barriers in schools and colleges. Srilatha Yegneshwar, Satyavani Vempati and Mamata Mutt show them there's no reason to feel that way. These three teachers have enabled many visually impaired students to ace these exams.

Over the years a growing number of disabled students have found their place in the prestigious Indian Civil Service. One of the centres helping them to achieve their dream of joining the government service is Hosabelaku. This coaching centre in Bengaluru charges just ₹ 1 for a disabled student.

Making a student feel supported and empowered at the school level is critical and it is here that school principals and teachers play an important role. Elizabeth Shirley, headmistress of Raksha Society, one Kochi's oldest special schools, brings to her role a personal touch. As aunt to a nephew and niece with intellectual disabilities, she is aware of the barrier's parents face in accessing meaningful education.

In the case of special educator Nishamol K E , it was a meeting with a disabled child in college that led to start teaching children with disabilities for life. She is the vice-principal of Navjeevan Special School in Kerala and travels for over an hour from her village to the school every day.

Art teacher Sharmila Ray , who has helped many disabled students unlock their creative talents believes in looking at each person as an individual. She says art can break down barriers for all.

Goa gets a special nod for being the first state government to acknowledge the efforts of special educators. Sister Meena , special educator at St Xavier's Academy, Goa's oldest school for disabled kids, was honoured on Teachers' Day with the prestigious Goa State Teacher's Award. Sister Meena hopes the honour will encourage more people to consider taking up special education as a profession.

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