Mangaluru: Special Children Who are God’s Special Creation Need to be Treated Equal’- U T Khader, by – a well Wisher. ‘Special Children Who are God’s Special Creation Need to be Treated Equal’- Speaker of Karnataka Legislative Assembly and MLA U T Khader, during a felicitation programme arranged for him by the Management, staff and students of Mangaluru’s first school for children in needs- St Agnes Special School, Bendore.
To give a brief history of the existence of St Agnes Special School, Bendore, before going further into the felicitation programme details, it was in 1970 when the Apostolic Carmel Congregation was celebrating its Centenary of its ministry in the field of Education in India, Mother Theodosia A.C the then Superior General found a void in the scheme of education – the education of the Mentally Retarded (Now called Intellectually Challenged) children. So it was decided to start a school for these children as a memorial of Apostolic Carmel Centenary.
God who loves all his children, also provided a fitting, efficient and compassionate sister, in the person of Sr. Maria Jyothi A.C who started this school with only four children, and the School fraternity is grateful to Sr. Maria Jyothi AC for her initiative and her continual support as founder principal. The school grew in strength year by year and at present, there are around 300 students studying in the school, with the school’s beautiful motto “In Love We Grow”
As the first school of this kind in the districts of Mangaluru and Udupi, the school helped hundreds of children with disabilities by rehabilitating them either in the school programme or the Vocational Training Programme. The school helps the differently-abled students to achieve as much integral development as possible i.e. intellectual development and healthy social and spiritual fulfillment according to one’s individual potential. The children who come to school have acquired daily living skills like brushing of teeth, washing of face, eating, dressing and undressing etc. the fine and gross motor abilities are increased through exercises. The school educates, taps, and develops the potentialities of these children and youth, both boys and girls, from the age of 3, with its Early Intervention, Academic, Pre-Vocational, Vocational, Home-Science and Computer Training Programmes.
In appreciation of all the good works done by MLA U T Khader who was recently awarded the prestigious award “Great Son of India”, by the Indian Conference of Intellectuals at the India International Centre, New Delhi, here on 16 July 2023, and for his past support and encouragement to the school, the Management, Staff and students arranged a felicitation programme for him on 31 July 2023, after he was nominated with the Speaker post in Karnataka Legislative Assembly. On his arrival, he was given a guard of honour by the school brass band and then was escorted to the hall.
Following a prayer son and welcome dance performed well by the school children, the Principal of St Agnes Special School, Sr Shruthi AC welcomed the gathering, after which Speaker U T Khader was felicitated by the dignitaries on the dais, namely- Sr Shruthi AC; Sr Sr Linette Maria AC- Joint Secretary; Ajith and Chrystal Lobo-both Benefactors; Oscar- a Well Wisher; Mrs Irene Pinto- President of PTA; Master Narayan and Sr Thejaswi, both school teachers.
Addressing the students and the audience, U T Khader said, ” I feel proud to say that St Agnes Special School being the FIRST school for the children in need has done wonders during the last 50 plus years. I do remember coming to this school for community service projects during my college days. It was indeed a blessing to spend time with special children, who are also God’s creation and are just like all of us, and they should also be treated equally, irrespective of their disabilities. The drive to accept people with special needs has gained more momentum in the past few decades, and it is high time that we, as a civilized society, accept them in every possible way. Inclusive education is a right that every person living in a civilized society should be able to have”..
We live in a civilized society where we acknowledge that every individual has the right to access the basic facilities that society provides and education is a primary facility. Nothing will remain impossible for these differently-abled students to achieve if the community as a whole is empathetic, supportive, assertive and human enough to recognize and celebrate the differences of special needs and make it their priority. I know the management and staff of St Agnes Special School are doing yeomen service in catering to the needs of these special children. I am always ready to lend my helping hand if the School needs my support, to the best of my ability” added U T Khader.
On the occasion, Dakshina Kannada Private Bus Operators Association president Jayasheela Adyanthaya gave away Free Bus Passes for Children who travel by city buses to the school, and they all had smiles on their faces for the kind gesture shown towards them. The introduction of the Chief Guest and Vote of thanks was done by Master Narayan, and the programme was meticulously and eloquently compered by Sr Thejaswi AC.
Now that St Agnes Special School has successfully completed 53 years, they still need the support from the public/well-wishers to continue with their mission to serve the children with need, so that they can continue with the good work that they are all entrusted with. According to Mathew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, ….”, we should know that giving is something done voluntarily. Giving should not be done under compulsion, coercion, duress, or conviction. There are some exceptions, of course. When you do give, you are to give what you have chosen in your heart. Those who take pity on those less fortunate than us are true neighbours and caregivers.
If you want to share a portion of your wealth kindly donate to St Agnes Special School for a good cause and make a difference. For more details you can call 0824 244 3376 (school office) or 9741150669 (Sr Shruthi-Principal)