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Rosina’s story: Sun shines through

The image shows Rosina Situng, who has hearing impairment, reaching children, both with and without disabilities at Ferrando Centre, a CBM partner in Meghalaya.
© CBM/Ferrando
Rosina Situng’s story highlights the role that inclusive education has played in shaping her life and enabling her in overcoming barriers that she faces as a woman with hearing impairment. The 29-year-old lives in Meghalaya and teaches at Ferrando.

Access to education is one of the most important determinants of individual and social development. Lack of access to education creates barriers to opportunities for employment and participation for marginalised communities, especially for persons with disabilities.

Facing barriers

Rosina Situng, 29-year-old, lives in Meghalaya, literally meaning the abode of clouds, in the northeast of India. The state is one of the wettest places in India with 70 percent of its land under forest cover.

Rosina grew up in the lap of nature, running around in paddy fields where her parents did farming and swimming in the streams that dot the landscape in Jowai, West Jaintia Hills District.

She joined the neighborhood school and was doing very well at studies. For her parents, she was the harbinger of hope and a better life

Rosina was in 2nd standard when she was affected by meningitis. As she recovered from the illness, her parents discovered that she had lost her hearing.

Rather than go into a state of despair, the young girl decided to face the challenge and continue her schooling. But she soon discovered that her ability to communicate and participated was being limited as the teachers and the school were not inclusive. She was forced to drop out of the school.           

She became an introvert, keeping herself busy with domestic chores. The barrier that lack of hearing created was compounded manifold by her surroundings as she was left out from all conversations. She progressively developed a sense of embarrassment about her disability.

Breaking the barriers

In the spring of 1999, Rosina joined the School and Centre for Hearing Handicapped Children (SCHC) in Laitumkhrah, Shillong. After joining the centre, she found what she loved most, a vibrant surrounding and lots of friends. After a hiatus of three years, since she dropped out from her school, Rosina started reconnecting with the world around her.

The centre being specifically designated for children with hearing impairment faced challenges in terms of limitation of resources, shortage of teachers and frequent changes in the management of the school.

Despite these, Rosina was able to continue her studies and went on to clear 10th standard, which is considered to be a major educational landmark in India.  

Her opportunity to study in an inclusive education set-up came after she joined CBM supported Ferrando Speech and Hearing Centre, Umniuh Khwan, Barapani.

The centre follows an inclusive education methodology with children with disabilities and non-disabled children studying together.

With training in sign language and teachers equipped to create an inclusive learning environment, Rosina not only found her confidence back but also got inspired to dedicate her skills towards empowering persons with disabilities.

At Ferrando, she was also introduced to the community-based rehabilitation approach to disability inclusion that is followed by schooling for the education of a child, especially children with disabilities, is seen as a collective responsibility.

With numerous exposure visits, Rosina also learned ways to communicate, express and negotiate with those who have not been sensitised in communicating with persons with disabilities.

A role model

Rosina, standing in an open ground on the facility of Ferrando centre ©CBM/Ferrando
Rosina Situng benefited from inclusive education model that CBM partner Ferrando practices and advocates for. She is now a role model for young people with hearing impairment.
Rosina now teaches at Ferrando Centre and her family is financially secure, thanks to her regular salary. She is seen by them as the breadwinner of the house as she contributes a bulk of the family income.  

After finishing school, she went on to acquire a number of technical qualifications and a graduation degree. She is also pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Sociology. She is also a sign language instructor and trained in computer software.  

She has emerged as a role model for her students and persons with disability in the community. The defining role in this journey has been of inclusive education and a mainstreaming approach to education.


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