"Family Day" was celebrated with great enthusiasm by “Pratidhwani WB” - a state level federation of parents associations of children and persons with deafness on 16th December, Saturday, 2017 at Bishop’s College, Kolkata. About 315 people across 9 districts of West Bengal (Bankura, Jalpaiguri, Howrah, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Midnapore, Hooghly, Kolkata etc.) actively participated. There were nearly 160 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.
In the first session, various programmes like sit and draw, sports and sharing of experiences by parents, young role models and guests took place. Post lunch attractions were magic show, mime, band police performance and group dance by all deaf children & young adults.
The entire programme was supported by Savlon (ITC Group), Arambagh and Bigbazaar.
We all gathered in the college premise at 10.00 a.m. sharp. Post completion of the registration formality and breakfast, we moved to the adjacent playground for the inauguration programme. The programme was started with March past accompanying police band which created a wonderful momentum. Then, the programme was inaugurated by lighting diyas in a flower filled water container by a child and parent from every group followed by a member from the Police band and present eminent guests.
Around 11:30 A.M, the guests and parents were requested to take their seats in a well decorated class room in the vicinity of the playground. The programme was started with presentation on Pratidhwani WB and its ongoing activities by Ms. Snigdha Sarkar, Secretary, Pratidhwani. Then four young adults with deafness shared their experiences and the audiences mainly parents of deaf children and young adults from various districts were quite enthused and probably got a ray of hope while looking at the confidence level of the young deaf persons to deal with life. Not only that, the parents also came forward and shared their view points to continue the process of the betterment of the deaf children and young persons. Ms. Nilanjana Mondal from Prayas, Howrah recited a poem on Pratidhwani followed by a brief video presentation of Savlon on hygiene and usefulness of handwash. Ms. Kuhu Das, Director of Association of Women with Disabilities, herself a person with locomotor disability, spoke of her personal experiences and her experiences of working with women with disabilities and Ms Aditi Basu from Anjali spoke about issues of persons with psycho social disabilities. Ms Snigdha Sarkar appreciated guests’ deliberations and highlighted that as parents of deaf children and persons our thoughts tend to move around deafness alone but there are people with other disabilities and they too have to struggle and we must remember that while we work for our children we must work in solidarity with others so as to make it an inclusive journey. Mr Dilip Banerjee, the last speaker, also a guest from last year emphasised that he knew from his experiences that mobilising parents from across the state was not easy and he highly appreciated the concept of a Family Day. The strength of the society lies in the family and it was important for families to come under a platform to feel the strength of togetherness and solidarity.
At the same time, a sit and draw event was organized where all the children took part spontaneously. While the young children took part in sit and draw, resource person and actor Mr. Avijit Ghosh prepared older children with presentation for the afternoon programme. All sports related things were timely set up and the equipment was arranged by the sports team under the guidance of our parent members. All games were conducted aptly and every one of us enjoyed. After the sports activity; we came back to the dining hall where delicious lunch was served at 2.00 p.m.
The next part of the programme started with magic show after lunch and everyone enjoyed the tricks of the magician Mr. S. Guha. The Police Band presented a beautiful show for the children after the magic show. The children immensely enjoyed both the programmes. The next attraction of the day was mime show by two deaf adults from SILENCE. All children and young adults beautifully performed dances to the tune of popular songs under the guidance Mr. Abhijit Ghosh.
The programme ended with distribution of gifts to every child and parent with gifts donated by Savlon (Savlon Hand wash liquids) as a token of love and positive gesture. 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.
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
- ASHA, Jalpaiguri
- ANGIKAR, 24 Pgs (N)
- Bondhu Kolkata
- Chareibeti,24 Pgs(N)
- Khakurdah, Midnapur (W)
- Pather Disha, Hooghly
- PKK, Hooghly
- Prayas, Howrah
- Prerona Kolkata
- SANNIDDHYA, Nadia
- Samadhan, 24 Pgs(S)
- Uttaran, Bankura
- Udita,CINI Kolkata