Working with deafblind people

Lumlang finds his voice and discovers the little joys of life

Lumlang Born in a very small village in a corner of India, Lumlang may have well been a child forsaken, if not for a small pilot programme to serve the needs of deafblind children.

Lumlang, age 19, was born in a small village called Umtasor Nongjyrmi of RiBhoi District in Meghalaya that has a population of around 100 people, most of whom are marginal farmers. Completely deafblind Lumlang lost his vision and subsequently his hearing due to high fever when he was a year old. Over time one of his blinded eye developed Glaucoma, because of which it was swollen and kept watering. Even though little Lumlang was a bright and curious child, his energies and concentration was spent on tending to his eye and its watering. Deafblindness resulted in drawing more curtains between him and life itself and the inability to express or explain what he thought, left him more frustrated and angry.
Some years ago, his parents were counseled to send him to Bethany Society, Shillong for his education when Sense India started supporting a pilot programme for deafblind people in Meghalaya.
Since then he has been under the care of educators Suniya and Salchiana and has been living in the hostel as well. They taught him basic sign language and Braille which facilitated communication with the world around him. He was taught to understand and explore the environment to help him move around freely. At first he faced difficulties adapting to his new environment especially living in a hostel with other children. But he soon became friends with many and he now enjoys schooling.
Today, Lumlang is an avid communicator. He is an expert at Braille and numbers and can make his way anywhere in the neighborhood on his own. He enjoys listening to music using his residual hearing. He likes making things out of paper – from kites to toys. His progress is amazing.
Lumlang is slowly getting ready to take charge of his own future!

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