In January 2006 we had a phone call from an institution near Howrah Station to say that a small deaf boy had been found alone there. They had been caring for him but because of his disability they couldn’t keep him.
When we first met him he couldn’t communicate and struggled to express himself. After encouragement from Pappu and the boys he soon began to sign in basic terms what had happened.
He had been alone at the station since Christmas Eve for about ten days before being taken to the institution. So on 10th January he came to shuktara which is now his home.
“I was so happy to see how all the shuktara boys welcomed him,” said David. “They all, one by one, took him around the house. One gave him clothes from his cupboard, another showed him the shower with hot water, and then they all started to communicate in sign. I don’t think he had ever thought that there was anyone else like him anywhere. So he was instantly at home.”
We didn’t know his name, so we wrote down a few options for him to choose from. He picked ‘Rajesh’ and ‘Roy’ and we think it sounds like the name of a Bollywood star!
Although he was quite mischievous, the staff quickly noticed a keen desire to learn. We started him with a tutor straight away and he’s never looked back. He now attends the nearby Pragati School and is doing really well, and most importantly, loves his studies.
“I have seen such a change in Rajesh since he first came here,” says Pappu (chairman of shuktara) “It’s wonderful to see how very caring and loving he is, especially to Ratan. And he’s very helpful in the house.”
Rajesh also has Usher syndrome, which will eventually lead to blindness. But when this time comes we will continue to give him all the love and support he needs to adapt to this disability.