Santi School for Deaf and Dumb
Breaking the barriers of communication
While access to education is limited for some on the basis of their socio-economic status, there is an added layer of challenge to those who have physical disabilities to complete their education. In order to address this discrepancy and ensure that those with hearing and speech impairments get the same quality of education as any of their more able peers, the Santhi School for Deaf and Dumb was started in 1956. Spread over three and a half acres, the residential school is located at Sivasailam on the banks of the Gadana River. Initially, there was only a primary school; it was upgraded to a middle school in the year 1976, high school in the year 1997 and a higher secondary school from 2018. Currently, about 58 boys and 30 girls are having their education in the school. Over the years more than 558 children have benefited from the school.
Even though the school is currently run by Gandhigram, it was not always the case. Shri M Jesudasan, a social worker, established the school with the name Santhi Samsara School for the Deaf and Dumb. There were only three students enrolled in 1956. Following his demise, the responsibility of running the school was taken up by Dr Soundram, who was a member of the original founding committee. To optimize involvement and efficacy it was decided in 1976 that the school would be merged with Avvai Ashram. Thus the school become a part of the larger Gandhigram Trust family.
Children with a hearing impairment are identified early and enrolled in the school, where they can study from classes one to 12. Teachers follow the syllabus prescribed by the Tamil Nadu Board of Secondary Education. Apart from academics an emphasis is laid on vocational training in tailoring, dance, drawing and electrical repair as well as sports and gymnastics.