Spurthi: SCB’s unique school for special children

Spurthi: SCB’s unique school for special children

The SCB had started a school named Spurthi in November 2012 at a rented premises with just six children. Now the school has a premises of its own and 56 students

The SCB had started a school named Spurthi in November 2012 at a rented premises with just six children. Now the school has a premises of its own and 56 students

It is a hardly known fact that the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) has been taking up social responsibility activities to help the poor and weaker sections of the society. But the SCB has in fact been running a school for special children at Gun Bazar in Rasoolpura for the past four years.

 Children making hand bags (inset) Ranga Suseela, principal

The school, named Spurthi, which means inspiration and encouragement, was started with the aim of changing the lives of children who were suffering from various physical and intellectual disabilities.

The school was initiated by C Ravindra, former CEO of the SCB, whose determination led to relocation of the school from a rented premises to a new building at Gun Bazar. Started with six children in August 2010 with 6 children at a rented place at Chandra Nagar Colony, Rasoolpura, it was subsequently shifted to a new building that was constructed at a cost of Rs 19 lakh near the Government High School at Gun Bazar in November 2012. The present strength of the school is 56 students (24 girls and 32 boys). The school is headed by Ranga Suseela, principal, and 7 special educators, who were trained at the National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped (NIMH) and other prime institutes.

Ranga Suseela told The Hyderabad Hans, “Children who are specially endowed and from the poorer strata of society can get enrolled in the school and no fee would be charged. People from outside the cantonment area can also enrol their children, provided the parents bring the children and take them back after the school hours. The school would be open from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm and works on all week days.”

Any child in the age group of 3-17 and suffering from intellectual disabilities of mild, moderate or severe levels can be admitted to the school.

Suseela added, “Spurthi staff conducted a survey from May 20 to 23 to identify children with special needs in and around cantonment board area slums. The main purpose of conducting this survey was to reach out to more children and extend free special education, physiotherapy and speech therapy services. 86 children with special needs were identified in this survey. Out of them, 34 are intellectually challenged.” Under the educational programmes at Spurthi Special School, the administration is planning to make the children self-dependent in eating, drinking, toileting, dressing and grooming skills. Social skills, functional academics and community orientation training are being provided to make the child independent in the community. Apart from this, pro-vocational training for developing life skills, organisational skills and safety skills are given. These programmes are directed at integrating the children within the society by means of employment and to make them economically independent.

For this purpose Spurthi students undergo training in envelope-making, phenyl-making, gift packing, making paper bags and stitching, hemming, etc.

Bi-monthly medical camps are conducted at the school premises by the cantonment dispensary assistant medical officer Dr Satyasheel. Free hearing screening tests are conducted by Phonak with the collaboration of Special Olympics of Bharat for those students who have hearing problems.

Sujatha Gupta, chief executive officer, SCB, said, “The introduction of special school in the Secunderabad Cantonment Board is the first-of-its-kind in the entire 62 cantonments in India. Such special schools were opened subsequently in other cantonments in the country. Our aim is to identify the children with special needs in the cantonment and neighbouring areas who are from poor and weaker sections of the society to bring change in their lives and live independently on par with normal people.”

For more information and additional details you can directly visit the Spurthi Special School, Gun Bazar, Rasoolpura, or contact 040-3221-5450, Cell No 99484-54229.

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