SUKKUR: Things couldn’t get much worse for the special children in Sukkur. Not only is their school run down and in dire need of maintenance, even the bus that takes them to the school is out of order.
The school for special children, including physically challenged and hearing and visually impaired children, is situated at Bunder Road, Sukkur city. Closed for the past one month, the school wears a deserted look. There are cobwebs in the corners and broken furniture in classrooms.
Colourful tricycles are gathering dust in the porch of the school. “These cycles have been donated by residents of Sukkur. We use them to bring disabled students from the school bus to their respective classrooms,” explained the headmaster, Sahib Dino Ansari.
When asked about the poor condition of the school, Ansari said the district administration had been using the building as a storage house for relief items. They had kept tents and dry ration there but all that has been removed by now. Ansari maintained that repairs are underway and will be “completed shortly”.
According to the headmaster, there are 65 young boys and girls enrolled at the school, out of which at least 30 students attend classes regularly.
Most of the students use the school bus but some parents bring their children on their cars and bikes, he said.
The school is small, consisting of just two classrooms, a physiotherapy laboratory, a woodwork workshop and a tailoring workshop.
Besides providing academic education from class I to class VIII, the school also provides vocational training. “We want the children to help their parents rather than become a burden on them,” Ansari said.
When probed about the dilapidated condition of the building, he admitted that the roofs of all classrooms were in “bad shape” and needed to be repaired. The task of renovation had been assigned to the Mari Gas Company.
Meanwhile, the broken down school bus will also be repaired within “a couple of days”, assured Ansari, adding that the district officer social welfare, Sukkur has released funds for it.
Despite repeated attempts, the district officer of the social welfare department, Mohammad Rahim Lakho, could not be reached for his comments.
However, his accountant, Abdul Hameed, told The Express Tribune that the Mari Gas Company is carrying out major repairs, while they have also written to the higher officials asking for more funds.
However, they have yet to receive an approval from them.
Ansari said the district administration had been using the building as a storage house for relief items but all that has been removed by now and repairs will be “completed shortly”.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2010.