Celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf in Moratuwa on February 16th, 2019.
The Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf started on February 2nd, 1984 in Moratuwa. The Founder is Mrs. Tineke de Silva-Nijkamp from the Netherlands. She visited Sri Lanka for the first time in 1974 with her Sri Lankan husband Susiri de Silva.
As she was in her home country a teacher in a Deaf School, she was interested to visit a Deaf School and meet deaf children in Sri Lanka. She got a shock when she travelled to remote villages where she met a lot of deaf children who did not go to school at all. They were treated like mentally retarded children and nobody cared about them. Many were sent to grandparents as the parents thought they had a bad influence on their other hearing children at home.
Tineke felt very bad about it, coming from a country where everything was perfect organized for handicapped children.
She got a dream to help this unfortunate deaf children from rural areas in Sri Lanka.
In 1984 her dream came true when her Deaf School started in a rented house at the Rawathawatta Road in Moratuwa with 8 children on her own expense. Soon there were 16 deaf children who stayed day and night in the School.
That was the beginning that Tineke started raising money in the Netherlands and putting up 6 buildings in a very nice quiet piece of land at Rawathawatta, where at the highest peak 120 deaf scholars got their education with 22 staff members.
The last years the amount of deaf students dropped as there are now in almost every Primary School a Unit for Handicapped Children. Parents like to bring their deaf children now close to their house to the school where also the brothers and sisters are going. The deaf children who got a cochlear implant are on advice of the ENT-Specialist going to a normal Primary School to learn the language better.
The Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf conducted some years ago a Beauty Culture Diploma Course for deaf boys and girls of the School. They completed successfully their Diploma Course and several deaf students got a job in a Beauty Salon. After that a Graphic Design Course was conducted and still goes on. Several students followed after that the NVQ Graphic Design Course and got the Certificate. A few students sit every year for the O-Level exam.
In 2017 the Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf started with a NVQ-3 Course in Agriculture. This is the first ever conducted NVQ-3 Course in Agriculture in Sri Lanka for deaf students!
At the end of the year 2018 the first batch of deaf students received their Agriculture NVQ-3 certificates. H.E. Mrs. Joanne Doornewaard, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, handed over the Certificates. She is the Patron of this Deaf School.
The 35th Jubilee of the Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf was celebrated with a Dana for 20 monks ( also the Dutch Monk Ven. Olande Ananda ) in the School Premises on February 16th. The parents of the deaf pupils participated to organize this event. There were 170 people present. (students, staff, parents, Trust Members and well wishers)
From January 2019 Mr. Mudithe de Silva, the son of Tineke de Silva-Nijkamp, takes over the leadership of the Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf as the new Director.