VAANI Deaf Children’s Foundation has been working in partnership with reputed organisations to provide services for deaf children in the Northeast in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram. Working with parents of deaf children has always been central to VAANI’s work in bringing communication to the lives of deaf children. VAANI believes in informed choice and aims to enable parents and the extended family of deaf children in the slums of Kolkata to fully support the educational development of their young deaf children.
VAANI organised a “Northeast Regional Parent’s Networking Meeting” at Sisters Retreat Home, near Ferrando Speech and Hearing Centre, Umniuh-Khwan, P.O.U.C.C Ri-Bhoi District, Meghalaya 793122l, on 9 and 10 November 2012. There were parents of deaf children from all the three States of Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram. It was a programme for two days where there were 39 participants from the three States. The participating parent groups presented their objectives, long term goals and needs. VAANI’s attempt was to initiate networking of parents’ groups across the three States in the Northeast that VAANI works with. For the first time a platform was created for the parents to interact and network with one another across the States. The concept for the formation of a Central Parents Advisory Group (CPAG) amongst resource parents/ representatives of state parents’ network was also introduced and discussed the need of such a formation. This was the first Networking Meet for the parents across the three States and a plan was created to carry this networking forward among the parents. It was fascinating to see how the parents interacted with each other and made their plans despite the fact that three different languages were being spoken in the room (Mizo, khasi and Assamese). The different backgrounds they came from made no difference to the level of interaction that kept the room abuzz throughout the workshop. Apart from the serious discussions and planning sessions, VAANI had also packed in some fun time for the parents. Parents enjoyed the games and other fun activities in those two days.
“We have to bring about a change in the lives of our deaf children and for that we have to bring about a change in our society. And we cannot do that as an individual but we can as a group. All these groups getting together can form a big group and take their work forward and make themselves heard by the policy makers” said Mrs. Brinda Crishna, Director, VAANI, who was present to facilitate the two day programme. Such a programme was a first for VAANI and also for the parents of deaf children in these three states. VAANI hopes this programme will mark the beginning of a very successful journey.