The new school year started on 2 January. It was a special month with a lot of international visiters. First Japanese youths paid a visit to our Deaf School and were given a tour through the school. They liked the lush vegetable garden and also the artistic paintings of the pupils.
Ine and Aad Lems from Netherland (sponsors of the school) arrived on 16 January. They were involved in various activities of the students. They also paid a visit to the Estate in Matugama.
At the end of January Miss Samupthika (past teacher) got a daughter.
We said goodbye to Miss Thaksila because she is getting married. Miss Mali took over her class.
On 2 February, people from England (DABAL Foundation) came to visit our School. They come to Sri Lanka every two years and sponsor our Deaf School.
This month, Ine Lems opened the ground floor of the new guest house in the school garden.
We had the Parent Day for the parents of the 6 trainees of the Agriculture vocational training.
Katrien Broeders with husband Pieter Bas and daughter Sophie from Netherland visited the School. Katrien was one of our volunteers many years ago. She still sponsors our school.
It was time again for the annual climb of Adams Peak with the oldest students. They enjoyed it very much.
People from the NVQ training came to see our Agriculture Project at the end of the month. They were satisfied with the progress.
We received an invitation for the annual Musical Show in the Lionel Wendt of the Rotaract Club. This is one of the best shows for the students every year.
Miss Manori started on 1 March. She took the place of Miss Samupthika.
Jose, Femke and Diede Hofhuis from Netherland (sponsors) spent two days in the Deaf School and enjoyed it to the fullest.
There was a drawing competition organized by the Deaf Parent’s Association, which included 13 deaf children in various age groups.
Janny and Tine (sponsors) from Groningen (Netherland) visit the school annually. They came back to Sri Lanka and spent one day in the school.
April is the month of the Singhaleze and Tamil New Year! After the test week for the reports, the children could relax during the New Year’s game day with a lot of fun, prizes and gifts. Then it was New Year’s holiday!
At the beginning of May Pieter and Will Maters (sponsors) from Twello, Netherland, visited us with children and grandchildren and spent a day in the deaf school. Most pupils still recognized them from their previous visit. Especially granddaughter Nelum was favorite with the deaf children!
This month we were also invited for an orientation visit with 5 staff members in the Peradeniya University (Agriculture Department). Our deaf trainees will soon be able to go 2 days for a work shop.
The annual Sport’s Meet with the students in Colombo was canceled halfway because of the sudden monsoon rains.
There was a “One Day Work Shop” for the trainees about mushroom growing at the Agriculture Center in Ratmalana. That was very interesting and educational. They had to roll up their sleeves themselves and each made a grow kit of straw, in which the spores were put out. In a dark cupboard in school, the oyster mushrooms appeared two months later!
The deaf pupils were invited to a cultural show and there was also the award ceremony of the Drawing Competition of the Parent’s Association last March. Almost all participants had a prize.
At the end of May, a group of students from a University in Singapore came to do 2 months of research with our students about musical experiences for deaf children.
In June we went with all pupils and staff members to a new Sri Lankan children’s film in the Moratuwa Cinema. That was laughing and enjoying.
In July, Amr first came from Istanbul and then Sabine from Amsterdam to come as volunteer to help a month in our deaf school. Sabine unfortunately got dengue fever after 14 days and ended up in the ICU of a private hospital in Colombo. Luckily she was better again when her parents came to Sri Lanka with brothers and sister to travel around. The family also visited our school. There was a dengue fever epidemic in Sri Lanka, especially in the months of June, July and August.
The NVQ Team came again on an inspection tour. They were very satisfied with the Agriculture Project and the project was largely approved. A group of deaf students with staff members and the 2 volunteers went to Colombo for a sport’s meet. This time it happily stayed dry. They won many prizes!
Rene and Vera Nijkamp from Netherland (sponsors) with their 2 children came to stay in the guest house of the School. They participated in numerous activities with the deaf pupils such as the dance and rhythm classes, drawing and games with the children. Vera got dengue fever just before she should leave for the Netherlands, so she ended up in a private hospital in Colombo. She was only able to leave with her son a week later.
At the end of July there was a very special “Fun Day” with bouncy castles, cotton candy etc. in the school garden! Mr. and Mrs. Nelda and Ties van Tuijl (sponsors) from Opijnen, Netherland, came on that day with their children and grandchildren for a day at the Deaf School. It was an unforgettable day. Then we also went for a day with the whole family van Tuijl to the plantation in Matugama.
Dr. Karl Heinz Zahorski from Germany, a good friend and sponsor of the Deaf School, made a flight around the world in his private plane. He also made a stopover in Colombo, where he visited our Deaf School on August 6.
A group of people from the Siloam Foundation from South Korea came for the third time this year to view the Agricultural Project (the vegetable garden) and took interviews with the deaf trainees.
On 21-08, at the Foundation Institute in Colombo, there was a presentation of all Projects for Disabled People in Sri Lanka, sponsored by this Korean Foundation. Tineke de Silva gave a presentation of the Agriculture Project of the Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf.
At the beginning of September the mother (48 years old) of our speech therapist Harshani suddenly died. We went with some of the staff to Polonnaruwa to the funeral (6 hours driving from Colombo).
The International Day of the Deaf we celebrated on 25 September by showing a film about a deaf mother. Furthermore, there was something tasty at tea time and ice cream for dessert.
This month we also made an Excursion to a Agriculture Exhibition in Kalutara with the trainees and the students of class 8 / 9/10.
In October, Mrs. Marion Winter (sponsor) from Germany came to our Deaf School again for one day to clean the ears and adjust hearing aids for the pupils. This was her third visit to the Deaf School. She brought hearing aids, ear moulds etc.
The agriculture trainees and the grade 8/9/10 students went to a large Agriculture Exhibition, this time in Homagama.
Early November it was time to participate at the annual Sport’s Meet, organized by the Lions Club. That is one of the best days of the year for deaf students.
There They always win a lot of prizes. The acting talents of our deaf students was clearly visible during the “Fancy Dress Show” at the end of the day. They entertained the entire audience, dressed as a group of clowns!
Unfortunately we said goodbye to Harshani (speech therapist) because after the death of her mother she goes to live with her father in Polonnaruwa. The new speech therapist who takes her place is Darshani.
This month there was also a one day Training Program in the Estate for the deaf trainees. An agriculture expert was invited who showed how various fruit trees should be pruned. At the end of November we had an early Christmas Party for all pupils and staff members. Santa Claus came in person and handed out presents. It was the happiest party of the year including a polonaise!
On the 4th of December, one of the members of our School Trust died suddenly, Mr. Lakshman Perera, after a short illness. It is a big loss for the Deaf School, as he has done a lot of work in the nine years that he was the treasurer.
On the last day of school in December, the deaf students gave a concert for the parents. Especially the ballet dance, in which all students participated, from our dance teacher Janaka, was so moving that tears spontaneously appeared in many parents. We also had a parent meeting and after a joint lunch the parents took the children home for the Christmas holiday. People from the Foundation from South Korea visited our Agriculture Project for the fourth time this year. We had an evaluation about the vocational training for the deaf students and about their future. For the parents of the trainees we had organized a separate parent’s day. The vegetable garden was viewed, we showed slides of the activities and learning program of the past 3 months and after a joint lunch the students went home with their parents for the Christmas holidays.
We look back on a very active year with a lot of visitors, a lot of inspiration and a full program. Our school team is always ready to assist and to ensure that all school events run smoothly.
We still can’t run the Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf without financial help from outside. That is why we are very grateful that there are so many people who support the deaf children and become sponsors. Thanks to your contribution, we can offer the underprivileged deaf children in Sri Lanka a versatile education and therefore a good future. We want to thank all the people who gave a helping hand. Thank you very much for your gifts and interest.
Check out our school website for more information. With warm regards, also on behalf of the deaf pupils and staff members,
Tineke de Silva
(founder / principal)
Dr. Reijntjes School for the Deaf
14/2, Andiris de Silva Mawatha,
Rawatawatta, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
Mail: [email protected]