A young mother’s daily battle to take her children out of a silent worldView(s):
A young mother’s determination, spurred amidst tears and sighs, has pulled two beautiful boys from a morass of silence and ostracism. When W.A. Gayathri Jineetha Weerakkodi, now 30, married her sweetheart who is also a second cousin, little did she realise the agony that she would have to endure.
Humble Jineetha from Thalahena in Kobeigane, set her mind to making a cozy home for herself and her husband, H.M. Sagara Sanjeewa. He was a driver in Colombo and she supplemented their paltry income by working in a garment factory at Pannala.
Eight years into the marriage, it was time for rejoicing, for a beautiful baby boy was born. It was when the little one, Kavindu Sandeepa was about eight months old that Sanjeewa wondered aloud to Jineetha, while on his once-a-month visit, whether their firstborn was different.
Whenever there was a noise, the baby would not look towards it and when Avurudu came along and the burst of crackers rent the air, the baby remained calm and unshaken. No sudden jerk followed the thunder of crackers.
It was then that the hospital rounds began and the young couple had to come to grips with the idea that their firstborn was deaf. By the time Kavindu was one year and six months, he had a pair of hearing aids but being a boy he was mischievous and about a year later they were broken.
The family just could not afford the Rs. 36,000 required to replace them and had to submit an application to the Social Services Department.
Jineetha, however, was not ready to give up like many of us would do, wallowing in self pity. She took matters in hand, while Sanjeewa toiled to keep the home fires burning, and began the arduous task of training the little boy to say simple words, starting with Amme and Thaththe. Her perseverance has borne fruit and now Kavindu is in school, studying in Grade 2, though it is still a struggle.
The hearing-aids send a rush of loud noise into his ears, says Jineetha, yearning to get a better pair for her bright boy. “We cannot afford the Rs. 155,000,” she says, as the tears flow unchecked. Then their second son was born in 2008 and Jineetha didn’t delay but got him screened, only to be told the devastating news that he too was hearing-impaired.
Sansarema kala kiruna, she says, explaining that they hit the depths of despair. She could not come up with a rational explanation why she had to face this double sorrow. Attending to both children is difficult, but she persists and brings the younger one for check-ups to the Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH) in Colombo.
Single-handedly she manages, for her husband is away from home most of the time, driving a tipper in Trincomalee and paying a visit only once a month.
The travel to Colombo costs a lot of money, says Jineetha through her tears, while the second son, Induwara Sandeepa now three and a half years old sits on his mother’s lap and attempts to lip-read what we are saying.
His big bright eyes are intelligent and on being offered a sheet of paper and a felt pen, he meticulously draws large bold flowers.
Life is a battle for this family of four. While Jineetha is always talking and teaching her two sons, amidst her household chores, they also need money to send the children to school. Induwara is in a special Montessori at Wariyapola, but Jineetha, however, has no rest. She keeps repeating, until her voice turns hoarse, words like “amba” (mango) and “ada” (today) to enable the younger son to understand two-letter words.
On a trip to the LRH in Colombo recently, this desperate mother came to the Sunday Times to plead for help. Next month, the LRH will decide whether Induwara needs an operation. Otherwise she will have to get him a digital hearing aid which costs a lot.
The boy is under the care of Consultant Ear, Nose, Throat Paediatric Surgeon, Dr. A.D.K.S.N. Yasawardene.
Jineetha’s fervent wish as she lights the tiny oil lamp before the statue of Lord Buddha in her humble home, is to pull out at least her second son from a silent world.
Give a hand to give him hearing
Heed a mother’s cry and help her child to get his hearing. Generous donors may send in their contributions to Account No. 281-2-001-0-0017753 at the Kobeigane branch of the People’s Bank in the name of Gayathri Jineetha Weerakkodi. Please contact Sanjeewa on Phone: 0778830420 or Jineetha on Phone: 0775730534 if you need more information.
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