Sri Rakum School for the Blind
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|Sri Rakum School for the Blind|
|No 421, Sri Krishna Temple Road, Indiranagar
|Principal||Acharya Sri Rakum|
|Number of students||LKG to Post Graduation|
|Information||+91 80 25215253 / 25215705|
Sri Rakum School for the Blind is a blind school in the city of Bangalore, India. It offers free education to blind students from kindergarten to post-graduation. The training imparted includes reading and writing through Braille and mobility training for totally blind children. Pre-school age students with the single disability of blindness are trained early on to prepare them for their eventual completion of school, college and vocational education.
The school offers free accommodation for its students. It extends its services to sighted but destitute children. The school has an integrated approach where sighted and blind children live and study in the same environment, which gives a boost and emotional moral support to the blind children that they are not left out. By admitting able-bodied (and underprivileged) students, the school creates a unique atmosphere for the disabled students where they can mingle, interact and help each other. This helps develop their social skills and confidence. The school houses more than 500 students.
The school was started by Acharya Sri Rakum in June 1998. He left behind a career in martial arts in Japan and India to pursue what he calls the "creative use of his power". He is now the principal. The realization that children who were born blind were shunned and denied opportunities to grow inspired him to start the school. The children hail from villages and tribal belts and come from very poor families. The school is a unique non-governmental organization running entirely on support by patrons and donations by the general public and corporate organizations.
The school has three branches:
- The Indiranagar School is the main branch of Sri Rakum School for the Blind. It is home to about 150 underprivileged, sighted and visually impaired boys and girls, from five years to twenty-six years of age. The school provides them free food, clothing, shelter and education.
- The Devanahalli School was started in 2003. The Devanahalli area is surrounded by quarries employing stone cutters. The school offers free education, lunch and tea-snacks to the children of the stone cutters who would otherwise never go to school. These children make it to school from the surrounding 21 villages. To this date, the school supports about 300 children and about 20 inmates. The Devanahalli School also runs a Goshala (cow shed). At present, the Goshala is home to 30 cows and calves, donated by the public on special occasions. The Acharya Sri Rakum Health Care Centre is located in Devanahalli. It was inaugurated in 2005. The hospital caters to the needs of women and children in the villages of Devanahalli and the surrounding areas. Patients are given free health care and medicines. Since the Devanahalli school is in a village, there are lots of arable regions and the school is planning to cultivation by drip irrigation, which has proved to be a very effective method. Due to the unavailability of power in the area, it is planning to become self-reliant by harvesting solar and wind energy. The school aspires to set up a bio-friendly environment where the children can conduct studies and become responsible citizens of India.
- The Arkavathy School houses the nursery, LKG and UKG kids from the age group of 2.5 years to 5 years. The school is running under a total campus area of 7200 sq ft, with two small sheds in an area called Arkavathy Layout. Each shed is 500 square feet (46 m2), and they are used as classrooms. Plans are to slowly expand to construct more sheds and a proper building.
The school's curriculum focuses on the acquisition of life skills as many extracurricular activities like karate, yoga, music, dance, fine arts and crafts are encouraged. The school has a computer training center equipped with screen-reading software to assist and enable the visually impaired to work with computers.
Indiranagar, the locality of Rakum School, is surrounded by areas where old women with no means of employment or any regular income to support them live. Acharya Rakum is now helping them to help. On the first day of every month, the school organizes an event called the Seva Day, where more than 200 old women from the neighborhood draw a monthly pension of Rs 100/- each along with food rations for a month. To qualify for this scheme, a woman is required to be more than 65 years of age, with no dependents. They require a doctor's certificate confirming the age and the local corporation's letter stating that they are a resident of a slum.
Unemployed blind student pension
Blind students educated at the Rakum Schools and other blind schools are often unemployed. While some have been lucky with employment, a plethora of young men and women remain unemployed. In a country that is yet waking up to the reality of the blind, many face unemployment and have no means to survive until they can support themselves. Taking a benevolent hand in the matter, Acharya Rakum has instituted a pension for blind youth who are unemployed and are above the age of 30. These people are given a monthly pension of Rs 100/- so that they can support themselves.