12 January 2007

Vocational Training

The Rangammal Memorial Rehabilitation Society set up by Sylvia Wright comprises the Rangammal Memorial Hospital
at Athiyandal Village (off NH-66 Bangalore Road some 6-8 kms northwest of the centre of town and the

Rangammal Memorial School for the Hearing Impaired
at Sambanthanur Village; off Chennai Road and some 6 kms south of Tiruvannamalai.

[view of Arunachala from Sambanthanur Village]

Tiruvannamalai is situated in a rural area and is surrounded by mainly agricultural villages. There is no appreciable industrial development, thus the main source of revenue is farming and work related to the area's importance as a pilgrim and tourist centre. Most town residents are employed as lay-labourers with a consequent high rate of unemployment. Thus the work possibilities for 'special needs' people is bleak. As there is no such thing as unemployment benefit or social assistance the economic burden on the family of 'special needs' people is great.

[St. Francis statue in front of Centre]

For this reason a Vocational Training Centre, was opened adjacent to the Rangammal Memorial School to teach trades and skills compatible with a young person's mental and physical abilities and interest. Because of the lack of vocational and training schools in the Tiruvannamalai area, in certain cases, ordinary students that are not categorised as 'special needs' are admitted into courses.

[stitching class]

The trades and skills offered include computer skills,tailoring, embroidery, electrical and plumbing skills and Arts and Crafts.

[handicraft class]

The young people spend one to two years at the Vocational Centre after completing their education, learning to survive in the world.

[catering class]

On leaving the Society, help is given to them setting up a cottage industry or to find the young person employment.

[plumbing and electrical theory]

Currently the Rangammal Memorial Rehabilitation Society is liaising with a local Engineering College in order to devise a software programme which will help to develop learning opportunities for the profoundly deaf children.

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