Specially Abled Girl, 16, Takes Over UNICEF Bengal For A Day

Ittesama held a meeting with all the staff of UNICEF in West Bengal and took four key decisions affecting the life and education of special children like her.

Specially Abled Girl, 16, Takes Over UNICEF Bengal For A Day

Ittesama Khatun symbolically takes over as UNICEF West Bengal chief for a day.

Kolkata:

In spite of being a deaf and dumb girl, 16-year-old Ittesama Khatun always dreamt of holding an important position in an office.

On Thursday, Ittesama was invited to symbolically assume the chair of the Chief Field Officer, UNICEF, West Bengal for a day.

The move came in the run-up to World Children's Day on November 20, a UNICEF release said. It was a thrilling experience for Ittesama who was part of a football team that won a bronze medal in the Special Olympics Unified Football Cup held this year.

Ittesama resides at Asha Bhavan Centre at Uluberia with other special children and studies in class 10 at nearby Karatberia High School.

Her teammate Jahira Khatun played the role of an interpreter when Ittesama communicated in sign language with the UNICEF staff after taking over the role of the head of the office.

Jahira had played in the forward position in Special Olympics Unified Football Cup in Detroit whereas Ittesama was the goalkeeper.

Ittesama held a meeting with all the staff of UNICEF in West Bengal and took four key decisions affecting the life and education of special children like her.

"As a student pursuing education with other children, I have understood the need for inclusive education for children with special needs. They should be educated alongside other students of the society," she said with the help of Jahira.

However, teaching-learning materials suited for children with special needs are not available adequately, Ittesama pointed out.

"Producing such materials for children like us and making them available and accessible for children in childcare institutes and communities is essential," she told the UNICEF officers.

She also highlighted another inconvenience faced by them in communicating with common people.

"I encourage all staff to avail a basic training for sign language communication to ease our pain and trouble," she urged everybody.

UNICEF officials decided to implement the decisions taken by Ittesama.

"Emphasis would be laid upon making education more inclusive for them. We would also urge the government to make more teaching learning materials suitable for them and make it more easily accessible for these children with special needs," Paramita Niyogi, officer-in-charge of UNICEF West Bengal said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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