“FAMILY DAY” was celebrated by “Pratidhwani WB” - a state level federation of parents associations of children and persons with deafness on 29th January, Sunday, 2017 at Bishop’s College, Kolkata. About 240 people across the state of West Bengal (Jalpaiguri, Murshidabad, Bankura, Hooghly, Midnapore (W), Howrah, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Kolkata) actively participated in the programme. There were nearly 120 children and young adults with deafness, their siblings and friends. The other part of the group was their parents, family members, teachers, friends and well wishers. The whole programme was supported by Deaf Child Worldwide (DCW) -the international development arm of the National Deaf Child Society, UK.
Parents and families started gathering in the college ground from 9.00 a.m. onwards. The beautiful college ground was an encouragement by itself. Post completion of the registration formality and breakfast, we moved to the adjacent playground for the inaugural session. The patriotic song “Saare Jahan Se Accha” was played where all deaf children and young adults queued up for March past and created a fabulous momentum in front of the dignitaries, eminent guests, parents who then marked the beginning of the day’s programme by lighting floating candles in a rose filled water container. They were joined by a young deaf child representing all children and young adults with deafness.
Around 11:30 a.m. visitors and parents were requested to take their seat in a well decorated hall in the vicinity of the playground. The programme was started with welcoming guests and presenting the journey of Pratidhwani WB eloquently by Ms. Snigdha Sarkar, Secretary of the federation. She called upon all the eminent guests like Ms. Supriya Sen Gupta, Ex NIHH, Ms. Sankari Ghosh, Retired Principal Ichapur Deaf School, Ms. Sukanya Chatterjee, IGSSS who was involved at the inception stage of Pratidhwani. Mr. Haward Taylor, DCW, Ms. Ruma Das Gupta from Education Department and requested them to come up the stage and say few words about their experiences. They expressed their pleasure through their speech, appreciated the valiant effort of Pratidhwani despite all odds in the present scenario and committed to be with Pratidhwani in its future endeavours. All of them were felicitated through memento presentation by few young adult members with deafness.
After the guests’ speech it was time for the role models to share their experiences. This session began with a very eloquent poem written by a young adult Mithi Chakraborty who could not attend the programme, read out by Ms. Sarkar. Swastik Jana, Anurupa Ghosh, Tanuj Mukherjee, Sudipto Mitra, Kaushani Ghatak, Sneha Das Gupta and Arnab Bhattacharya, young adults with deafness shared their experiences and the audiences comprising parents deaf children and young adults from various districts were quite enthused and got a ray of hope while looking at the confidence level of the young deaf persons to deal with the hurdles of life.
Parents also came forward to share their experiences, issues and views. Parents also expressed their convictions that deaf children were not curse upon their parents but blessings. The entire audience was quite moved and inspired in the entire sharing session.
Simultaneously, a sit and draw event was organized where all the children took part spontaneously. All sports related things were timely set up and the equipment were arranged by the sport team under the guidance of our parent members. There were various types of fun games like –
· Run ( 50 Meter) for Boys and Girls ( Age 5 Yrs to 10 Yrs)
· Eat the Hanging Biscuit with no hand touch and Run,
· Run ( 100 Meter) for Boys and Girls ( Age 11 Yrs to 15 Yrs)
· Balance game ( Spoon with Marble)
· Run ( 200 Meter) for Boys and Girls ( Age 16 Yrs and above)
· Break the pot with blindfolded eyes,
· Balance Race
All games were conducted aptly and every one enjoyed. Along with the sports activity; we came back to the garden house where the delicious lunch was served at 1.30 pm.
Post lunch, a magic show was kept and everyone enjoyed the tricks of the magician Mr. S Guha and his assistant. Then Mr. Roudra Mitra, Ms. Sneha Das Gupta, Ms. Koushani Ghatak and Ms. Anurupa Ghosh recited poems and got instant appreciation from the audience. The audience was mesmerized to see the wonderful mime act of Mr. Suvendu Mukhopadhyay. He beautifully portrayed the expression & feelings of a person with disability. Mr Sourodeep Chakraborty stole the show by displaying his unique creativity to make a picture through sketch from any symbol or sign. The last but not the least was Mr. Antik Kumar Dewanji who performed a beautiful dance in the tune of Taare Zameen Par Song “Tujhe Sab Hai Pata..Meri Maa”. Other than the magician and mime actor all other performers were deaf young adults.
With these performances, the programme came to a close with gifts and certificates given to every child, gifts for parents and young adults as a token of love and appreciation. It was indeed a great day for the children, young adults, their parents and family members and teachers as well, as it strengthened the bond between all of us. Pratidhwani W.B’s team effort was praiseworthy and especially we are thankful to Mr Debashis Biswas of DCW who worked shoulder to shoulder to make the Family Day a huge success.
Without the support and active involvement from the below mentioned parents group, the programme could not be so successful and memorable for the children and the young adults with hearing impairment. The groups are:
· Anwesha Kolkata
· Alor Disha
· Egiye Cholo
· Barunhat Sathi
· Khakurdah Midnapore
· GBCD parents group
· Bondhu – Group of deaf young adults