Sri Lanka is a beautiful tropical country. The people are friendly, hospital and live a peaceful simple life, special in the villages.
Most of our hearing impaired children come from remote villages where the people are poor and not well educated. When they come across a deaf child, they are not aware that this child can get educated like any other hearing child. There is no money to go in search for an ENT Doctor or a Deaf School, far away from their village.
That is the reason that in many cases the deaf child just stays at home and ends up miserable, illiterate and lonely.
As soon as a deaf child comes to our Deaf School, it feels very happy and relaxed to see that there are so many other children like her/him. The friendship between our deaf children is lasting a life time. It gives them a lot of self confidence, to communicate in sign language with other deaf friends. In that way they can express themselves fully and discuss different matters.
After the base education is finished the deaf pupils are round 18 years old. They can choose what they like and follow vocational training classes. That can be a training course for work in the garment factory, screen printing, offset printing, computer, short hand typing, welding, wood work, batik, hair styling, etc. After that the school staff helps them to find a job.
Most of the deaf pupils, which started schooling in 1984 and the years after, are married now. All of them were choosing a deaf partner. In some cases the couple was both educated in our Deaf School! Unfortunately many of them got blessed with a deaf baby, as this deafness is in their genes. But they know the best how to communicate with their deaf child. They bring frequently visits to our Deaf School as we played an important role in their lives.
Background of the Dr.Reijntjes School for the Deaf.
February 2nd 1984 the Dr.Reijntjes School for the Deaf started in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.
A wish of Tineke de Silva-Nijkamp became reality.
A dream who started growing from the moment she first visited Sri Lanka in 1974.
As Tineke herself was working as a teacher at a Deaf School in Holland for 12 years, she was very much interested how the deaf children in Sri Lanka were educated.
But she was shocked to see that these deaf children, special in the villages, were not taken serious and not send to school. The people thought they were mentally retarded.
How did it all start?
In 1973 Tineke met her husband Susiri de Silva, who studied that time in Enschede, Holland. In 1974 she visited for the first time the country of her husband, Sri Lanka.
She liked this beautiful island very much, but was upset about the education and future of the deaf children. She decided to help them.
Dream comes true…………..
Tineke and her husband Susiri settled down in the Netherlands in 1975 but visited Sri Lanka every year during the summer holidays. They collected money from family and friends and during their visits they went to remote villages to build small pre schools, wells etc. But in July 1983 they went with a special mission: to look for a location to start a Deaf School for deaf children from the poorest families from remote areas.
On February 1984 the Dr.Reijntjes School was opened for the Deaf. That first day there were 2 teachers, 1 matron and 8 deaf children of 6 years of age. In a few months it went to 16 pupils, who all stayed in the hostel. They came from very remote areas. It was a very nice bright group and they had a lot of fun. The rent of the building and all the expenses were paid private by Tineke as the project was not so much known yet.
Little by little foreign visitors came to help.
The new School Building.
In 1985 came the big brake through when one acre of land, adjoining to the bungalow where Tineke lived, was for sale. This was an ideal place to build the new Deaf School.
Tineke was sending more than 50 letters to organisations to ask for financial assistance. Two leading Dutch Organisations reacted positive and Dr.Reijntjes came to Sri Lanka to lay the foundation stone for the new building in 1986.
Soon after the opening of the beautiful building, there was not enough space and there was again a waiting list in 1993. This time financial help came of friends of the Netherlands and some small organisations, so that in 1995 the new wing was opened by Dr.Reijntjes and the Dutch Ambassador Mr. Bastiaan Korner. The capacity was now for 100 deaf pupils.
Hostel for deaf working boys.
In 1998 we started with a new building next to the Deaf School, to lodge the deaf teen age boys, who started working after they finished their vocational training.
Hostel for deaf working girls.
For the girls a house adjoining the school compound was bought. This was a gift from Dutch friends of the Deaf School.
Assistance to deaf Tamil and Moslim children of Sri Lanka.
A request came in 1997 from remote North and East areas to help the deaf children there, as they just were at home without education.
Together with the Survivors, a NGO who works in the refugee camps in the North and East, Tineke started small units for deaf children in Mannar, Pesalai, Batticaloa, Potuvil and Kalmunai.. First we some teachers from those areas were trained our Deaf School, as the language is different.(Tamil)
In the beginning they needed a lot of guidance.
Now all the units work independently.
Computer Centre and Library.
With financial aid from the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Colombo, a Computer Centre, Library and Speech Therapy Room was completed in 2005 in the School Compound.
The deaf pupils got already computer classes from 1990, but in the new Computer Centre they could start using internet and sending e-mails in a network system.
A new communication project started a pilot unique project for Sri Lanka, with the help of members of the Rotary Club in Batteramulla.
Tineke de Silva Nijkamp, de oprichtster van de Dr. Reijntjesdovenschool in Sri Lanka, was 12 jaar werkzaam in het dovenonderwijs in Nederland, voordat ze in 1984 naar Sri Lanka vertrok.
Haar droom was om de kansarme dove kinderen uit de allerarmste gezinnen in Sri Lanka, een goede opleiding te geven, zodat ze in de toekomst voor zichzelf konden zorgen.
Op 2 februari 1984 richtte ze de Dr.Reijntjesdovenschool op in Moratuwa, in Sri Lanka. Wat de eerste dag met een groepje van 6 dove leerlingen uit afgelegen dorpjes begon, groeide binnen 2 maanden uit naar een klas van 16 dove kinderen.
Door het hoge aanbod kwamen veel dove kinderen op een wachtlijst terecht.
Spoedig kwam er hulp van de Stichtingen Wilde Ganzen en Kinderpostzegels.
Dat resulteerde in een prachtig nieuw schoolgebouw met internaat, dat werd geopend door Dr.J.Reijntjes in juli 1987.
Na verloop van tijd ontstond er opnieuw een wachtlijst.
Er kwam een nieuwe vleugel aan de Dovenschool, die werd geopend door Dr. J. Reijntjes in 1995 en de Ned.ambassandeur, Mr. Bastiaan Korner. Het aantal leerlingen liep op naar 100.
In maart 2005 werd een nieuw gebouw geopend waarin is ondergebracht:
*Een Computer Unit *Een Bibliotheek * Een Onderzoek/Logopedie Ruimte dst was een Project gesschonken door de Ned. Ambassade in Colombo.
Ook werden vanaf 1997, met de hulp van Tineke de Silva, in het noorden en oosten ( in het oorlogsgebied) kleine units voor dove Tamil kinderen opgezet. Inmiddels werken deze units zelfstandig.
Hoe kunt u dit prachtige Project helpen?
De Dr.Reijntjesdovenschool is totaal afhankelijk van donaties. De leerlingen komen allemaal uit de allerarmste gezinnen, die geen enkele bijdrage kunnen leveren.
Van de nieuwe leerlingen die komen zijn er bovendien 10% ondervoed.
In de Dovenschool met bijbehorend Internaat krijgen de kinderen een totale verzorging.
Ook krijgen ze gratis een hoortoestel van de school.
Om dit allemaal te kunnen bekostigen zijn er sponsors nodig!
Neem contact op met:
De Stichting tot Steun aan de Dr.Reijntjesdovenschool.
Secretary of the Dutch Foundation: Mrs. Barbara Lems
E-Mail 01: firstname.lastname@example.org
E-Mail 02: email@example.com
Rabobank: NLL 78 RABO 0129669318
ING Bank: NL 24 INGB 0005 425186