Graham Bell Centre for Deaf (GBCD)

Partner From

Vision: Our vision is to create a non-threatening and non-discriminating environment within society so that persons with disabilities can enjoy a life with equal opportunities and full participation with all other members of the society.

Mission: Our mission is to empower persons with disabilities and promote economic self-reliance to ensure an inclusive life within the mainstream society.

Goals: Inclusion, economic independence, and empowerment of CWDs and PWDs.

• Ensuring inclusive education for all children who are identified as children with disabilities.
• Ensuring every possible support to the children and persons with disabilities, to enable them to reach their potential to the maximum.

Location: Four remote blocks of Hooghly District of West Bengal, India.
1. Pandua block
2. Polba-Dadpur block
3. Balagarh block
4. Dhaniakhli block

Project details: Our target group is 120 deaf children of upper primary to graduation level in the blocks mentioned above. The objectives are improving access to inclusive education for deaf children and enabling them for higher education. Deaf children completing primary education face several obstacles. Parents are unable to teach their deaf children due to low literacy levels, amongst other things. GBCD’s team will use its expertise in deaf teaching methodologies to address challenges through home-based educational support and center-based, subject-wise special coaching classes to develop skills and competence among them, so that they can achieve their right to education.

Learnings over the past year
We have developed various types of deaf-friendly Teaching Learning Materials (TLMs) for higher classes of deaf students, including Video TLMs & Real Objects. If proper awareness is created, people from all sectors, including regular schoolteachers, are interested in participating in the process of inclusive education.

Education of deaf children will only be a dream, unless and until the Community Resource Group (CRG) is developed. This will help educated members of the community to volunteer to support these children who have no regular quality support at home. To ensure deaf students’ inclusive education, peer support is an essential part. If we point out small changes to parents and family members, they become motivated to work for their deaf students.

Challenges over the past year
1. We work with rural, marginalized people. Most of our parents are daily wage earners and
illiterate or just barely literate (can sign their name only). Thus, it becomes challenging to
educate their children where there is almost no support at home.

2. The long-term sustainability of CRG members is challenging, because most of them are
either students or unmarried girls. They may stop at any moment as and when they get a job
or get married.
3. Developing TLMs of a few topics containing abstract concepts becomes challenging.
4. Lack of awareness among government officials/education department regarding deaf
education and their rights hinders our activities.

Plan for the next 1 -3 years:
The project will continue for another two years with the same objectives. We may need another
couple of years to ensure access to inclusive education for deaf students, and deaf-friendly school
environment for deaf children, right from primary to higher secondary level.

1. Weekly home-based support to deaf students of class 5-8 by CBRWs & DRMs, weekly center-
based special coaching class to the deaf students of class 9 th to graduation by special
teachers, half-yearly short stay camps, ensuring CRG support for deaf students, skill transfer
to parents, CRGs, peers, etc.
2. Developing an Adapted Booklet for deaf students, utilizing a short-term grant from WIPRO,
and distributing these among deaf students, and government schoolteachers.
3. School-level Interventions includes subject-wise, lesson-based classroom demonstrations,
awareness programs, and ISL (Indian Sign Language) programs.
4. Community-level awareness session on disability issues and ISL.

Organizational and operational: Capacity-building of staff, use of technology in MIS and regular monitoring, planning to launch early intervention programs for children with disabilities, strengthening Management Information System to ensure appropriate monitoring system on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

We are also going to conduct capacity-building workshops on: Documentation & reporting; Organizational development; strategy development; monitoring; Use of technology in our work; Developing project proposals; Policy; Safeguards; and Sexual Reproductive Health.

Participants: The director, documentation officer, coordinators, supervisors, special teachers, and
staff who will participate in these workshops are from the core group. Therefore, their knowledge
augmentation will strengthen the organization.