Tineke de Silva-Nijkamp
Tineke de Silva-Nijkamp is a citizen from the Netherlands. She met her Sri Lankan husband, Susiri de Silva, in her home country when he studied there. She visited Sri Lanka for the first time in 1974 with her husband. At that time she was a teacher in a Deaf School in the Netherlands.
She was very sad to see that most of the deaf children in the remote villages of Sri Lanka, were kept at home as there were no deaf schools for them. Back at home Tineke got a dream to help these underprivileged deaf children to get an education and to give them a future like other children.
The Dr.Reijntjes School for the Deaf in Moratuwa started in 1984 with 8 deaf pupils under the care of Mrs. Tineke de Silva-Nijkamp from the Netherlands. After 3 months there were 16 deaf children. The School was growing so fast that new buildings were constructed with the help of Dutch Organizations. All the deaf pupils also needed boarding facilities, as they came from rural areas of Sri Lanka. After 10 years the number of deaf children was growing to 100.
At the Deaf School the deaf pupils get a normal school program like any other hearing child. Only the method of teaching is different. We use the National Sign Language of Sri Lanka. The extra lessons they get here are speech therapy, drama, yoga, dancing, expression & art classes. Through these lessons the deaf children learn to express themselves and get self confidence, to face the hearing society.