Saturday, May 23, 2020

The right song at the right place at the right time

The establishment of Zangley Muenselling School for the Blind in Khaling in 1973 brought new hopes and dreams for the visually impaired people of Bhutan. His Royal Highness Prince Namgyel Wangchuck and the missionaries from Norway who founded the school had a common dream, a dream to help every visually impaired Bhutanese see the world through education. One of the biggest responsibilities the founding fathers of the school had was to shift the social paradigm from “We are blind. We cannot do anything!” to “We shall overcome!” And so had the students first learned to sing the nursery song ‘We shall overcome’ the lyrics of which contained the ultimate vision of the school. Over the years, the school has opened the horizon of opportunities and unlocked the door to a promising future for all its visually impaired students, and this is what the song was all about.

When I joined the school in 1990, the song was still popular among the students and it was one of the first songs I learned in the school. However, I had not realized that the song had such a deep and profound meaning for us. It was certainly a conscious choice made by those earlier teachers who had introduced it in the school. Reflecting on the journey I have made since my first day in school and the obstacles I have overcome to become who I am today, I cannot forget those days in that tiny classroom of PP where I and my friends often used to sing after our new, young and energetic teacher, Ms. Kumari Gurung:

“We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome someday!
Oh deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday.
We shall integrate, we shall integrate, we shall integrate someday!
Oh deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall integrate someday.
We’ll walk hand in hand, we’ll walk hand in hand, we’ll walk hand in hand someday!
Oh deep in my heart, I do believe, we’ll walk hand in hand someday……….”

As I enjoy my independence today, walking hand in hand with my family and friends, this beautiful song still plays in my head. It was the right song taught at the right place at the right time.

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