Sagnik Chowdhury,; Kolkata; June 27, 2005
The Society for the Visually Handicapped (S.V.H.) organised a 'Helen Keller deaf-blind awareness day' on June 26, on the eve of Ms. Keller's birth anniversary. S.V.H. hosted a participatory workshop for visually impaired and totally blind persons studying in mainstream educational institutions in West Bengal .
The programme aimed at increasing awareness about the special needs of such students. Earlier, blind students would attend special schools for their education. Nowadays, many pursue their higher education in mainstream universities and colleges. However, they need understanding and help. The programme was meant for parents of blind students, and the teachers of educational institutions informed Ruma Chatterjee, Vice President, S.V.H.
During the programme, artists from Blind Opera - a group of visually impaired persons experimenting with language and theatre - oriented participants with skills of personality development and communication, body-confidence and body language awareness, and how to build capacity to face challenges of the world.
SVH, founded in 1983, provides educational resource support to visually impaired persons pursuing higher education. "We provide such students with Braille text books and cassette recordings of books which are not available in Braille. We also train teachers on how to teach such students. So far, it has been extremely difficult for these students to carry on with their education beyond school," said Shyamal Datta, Founder President, S.V.H.