Children with intellectual disabilities forced into crammed classroom in Nepalgunj

Published On: May 25, 2023 05:01 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

RANJHA, May 25: Children with intellectual disabilities are compelled to study in a crammed classroom at an intellectual disability day care service center operating from Saraswati Basic School at Nepalgunj Sub Metropolitan City-9 in Banke district.

As the temperature in the district is soaring, often recording as high as 45 degrees Celsius during summer, it is increasingly difficult for the children to study in a crowded classroom. It feels like being tortured by taking a class at the center, said one of the students. What's more, the classroom has also been used as a room for storing educational materials and utensils for making day meals for the children.

A total of 34 children are forced into the classroom without infrastructures friendly to children with intellectual disabilities, said a teacher Biraj Singh. It also involves difficulties in teaching and learning activities, he added.

Children are taught through games, entertainment and practical knowledge, he said. "We have kept the profile of each student and the progress report. It is increasingly becoming difficult in learning and teaching activities due to a lack of toilet and drinking water, and a crowded classroom," he said.

Set up in 2049, the center has faced an economic crisis due to a halt in foreign donations. Initially, the center continuously operated from Mangal Prasad Secondary School for 16 years with financial support from a US citizen. However, after a halt to the support, it is operating from Saraswati Basic School.

Children from within the sub-metropolis and other parts of the district are enrolled at the center, said Kaushal Kumar Chaudhary, chairperson of the school management committee.

The lack of school buildings friendly to children with intellectual disabilities and economic sources has made the matter worse, he said.

The center is operating under the direct care of the association for the welfare of mentally retarded, Nepalgunj. It does not have its own income sources except for foreign donations. Around Rs 60,000 is spent monthly to run the center, said Gokarna Acharya, chairperson of the association.

"It faces economic problems and lacks physical infrastructures friendly to children with intellectual disabilities," he said.





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