The Ida Rieu Welfare Association on Friday held an event to honour Lady Augusta Ida Rieu who had set up a learning center for deaf and blind children in Karachi. The association vowed to continue with her good work.

Lady Augusta Ida Rieu was the wife of J P Rieu, Commissioner in Sindh of the British Raj. She devoted her life to the service of the poor and needy.  Among her many initiatives in Sindh was the establishment of a facility for the care and education of blind and deaf children in Karachi.

According to the press statement issued by the association, after death of Ms Ida Rieu in 1921 the Ida Rieu Welfare Association was established in 1922 to honour her memory and to continue with her good work. Ida Rieu Schools and Colleges for the Blind and Deaf are the pioneers of Special education in Pakistan.

At the Ida Rieu Schools and Colleges for the Blind and Deaf education is provided from Montessori level up to Masters level with an affiliation with the University of Karachi. Medium of instructions is in Braille, Sign Language and assistive technologies.

Currently,  over 800 students are provided education, books, uniforms, sports training, vocational training, hostel accommodation, transportation, health care, meals and many other services on a totally free of cost basis. The main campus is in Karachi and the second campus is in Rashidabad near Tando Allah Yar. School services are funded by philanthropists and corporate donors.

The year 2022 marks IRWA’s one hundred years of dedicated service to the cause of Special children in Pakistan. Centennial celebrations of Ida Rieu Schools began in January 2022 and are meant to continue throughout the year highlighting the cause of blind and deaf people in Pakistan.

The Memorial gathering at the Gora Qabristan by the burial site of Lady Augusta Ida Rieu is meant to pay tribute to the memory of this remarkable woman whose vision and dream continues to bring positive change and advancement in the lives of Special people.

On the occasion, the President Ida Rieu Welfare Association Nadra Panjwani said; “We will increase more and more services for the benefits of blind and deaf students while the association’s chairman Zafar Iqbal said that under the slogan of knights of the blinds and voice of the deaf we will share more and more success stories of our students with our society. The memorial prayers led by Bishop Beeny Tarnavas and offer prayers for her while a large number of teachers, staff and students of ida rieu schools for the blind and deaf attended this memorial gathering.

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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