Empathy, not sympathy is IGNOU's call for disabled
27 May, 2012
The Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), sponsored by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, organised a session titled ‘Orientation to Deafness’ at the University’s Convention Centre.
The programme, attended by BA in Applied Sign Language Studies (BAASLS) students and the staff, aimed at increasing awareness about deafness, problems of deaf community and initiatives necessary for solving them from different stakeholders.
For Aline, a first-year student from Africa, pursuing BAASLS programme from IGNOU, studying sign language programme opened the barriers of communication for her. She went deaf at age four and her parents didn’t realise the impairment. “I didn’t want to stay at home during vacations. Being with the deaf community was like being in a family,” she said.
In his key speech, Vice Chancellor Prof. M. Aslam highlighted that at present, there are 90 deaf students at the IGNOU campus. He made it clear that the deaf people form a linguistic minority than a disability group. “The moment we pick up how they talk to each other, they start communicating with us as well,” he felt, emphasising on developing the mind, personality and individuality through education.
Prof. Aslam informed that a committee has been constituted to construct a specialised building for the project at IGNOU. Terming the development of ISLRTC at the IGNOU campus as a significant one, he realised that there are still many challenges to overcome.
Prof. Aslam distributed certificates to 15 BAASLS students for undertaking activities in fields like cultural activities, sports, photography and designing. He also made the audience pledge against all forms of terrorism and violence.
Prof. Avadhesh Kumar Singh, Director, ISLRTC, emphasised on a systematic study to the issues and problems of deaf community in India. He felt that there is a lack of awareness amongst the people. “They don’t need sympathy but empathy from all of us,” he added, emphatically.
ISLRTC Chief Advisor Dr. Madan Mohan Vasishta also shared his experience of going deaf at age 11 and was unaware of the existence of sign language. The programme commenced with an invocation by the BAASLS students on ‘Hum Honge Kaamyaab’ and ended with a vote of thanks by Dr. Hemlata, coordinator, BAASLS programme