Tineke de Silva-Nijkamp, the founder of the Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf, was a teacher at a Deaf School in the Netherlands, when she met her husband Susiri de Silva in 1973, who studied in the Netherlands.
Tineke first visit to Sri Lanka was in 1974. She travelled round the whole island and fell in love with Sri Lanka. She also visited the Ratmalana Deaf School where Mr. Cooray was the Principal.
When she came back in 1975 she also visited very remote villages to see if she could find deaf children, as she wanted to help them. But she was shocked to see that these deaf children were not going to school and treated like they were mentally retarded.
Tineke got a dream to help these underprivileged children from poor families, to educate them and give them a future like all other children.
In 1982 Tineke was setting up a Charitable Foundation in Enschede , the Netherlands under the name:
“De Stichting tot Steun aan de Dr. Reijntjesdovenschool in Sri Lanka”. Or in English: “The Foundation to support the Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf in Sri Lanka”.
Dr. Reijntjes was the ENT Doctor in the Deaf School where Tineke was working and he was her tutor.
In 1983 Susiri and Tineke went to Sri Lanka to prepare everything to be able to start the Deaf School. A building was rented etc. So it happened: on February 2nd 1984 the Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf (a residential school) was opened in Moratuwa with 6 deaf children from rural areas, a matron and 2 teachers. The 3 staff members were trained in the Ratmalana Deaf School under Mr. Cooray.
Tineke resigned from her job in the Deaf School in the Netherlands to be the Founder/Principal of the Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf in Moratuwa.
The number of deaf children was growing fast and it was time to look for a new building. Tineke was writing proposals to several Dutch Organizations and The Wilde Ganzen were willing to donate a new building. That was ready in 1988 and opened by Dr. Reijntjes.
After that a new Wing was opened in 1993 and the number of deaf pupils (boys and girls) went up to 100. All the children stayed in the School Hostel.
The next step was the opening of the new Guest House for the visitors and the Hostel for the Working Boys in 1998. Two years later, in 2000, the Hostel for working girls was opened.
A new Building for a Computer Centre, a Library and a Speech Therapy Centre was donated by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Colombo.
A new Vocational Training Centre was built in 2008 with sewing machines etc. Round the same time a Salon was equipped to start Courses in Beauty Culture for the eldest students.
The Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf celebrated the Silver Jubilee on 2-02-2009.
At the same time a new Trust was formed under the Name: Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf Trust, to guaranty the independence and the continuation of the Deaf School.