9 December 2006

Cultural Programme

In a previous post I mentioned the extraordinary work being done by the Rangammal Memorial Rehabilitation Society set up by Sylvia Wright. As part of that Society, in 1992 The Rangammal Memorial Higher Secondary School for the Hearing Impaired was established here in Tiruvannamalai. The school has a high reputation for academic and cultural excellence. It is totally free of cost and currently has 200 residential and 36 non-residential pupils. There is no charge for food, board or study books.

I recently returned on a second visit to the school and spent some happy time with the children and staff. During my visit I was able to watch the children practise a dance routine they were preparing for a cultural function associated with 'The World Disabled Day' to be held December 3rd at Chennai.

In the below photograph the children are preparing different sequences of their programme. Both the youngest and the oldest at the school are being represented. The children are wearing their school clothes, but I was assured by Madam Krishnabai (the Headmistress of the school) that very colourful and elaborate costumes were being prepared for the kids to wear during their programme at Chennai.

I sat and watched the whole routine the kids were preparing. Of course I (like the audience in Chennai), watched the children perform to music. Their movements and gestures were so perfectly timed to music that it was difficult to believe that most of them are completely deaf. It was a joy to watch their happy, jubilant faces while they were dancing. One teacher sat in front of the children with a large drum and the kids took their cues from the timing of the beating of the drum and also from various hand signals made by the teacher. It was a truly breath-taking performance.

A total of 65 children representing Rangammal Memorial Higher Secondary School for the Hearing Impaired travelled to Chennai to participate in the programme. Needless to say the kids won and after a brief stay at Chennai returned triumphantly to Tiruvannamalai with their trophy shield and wonderful memories.


Divyakka said...

Wow, lovely story, thanks so much! :-)

Arunachala Living said...

It was a grand outing for me. The kids are amazing - and you have to watch their dancing routine - fantastic. Very difficult to believe that most of them are stone deaf.