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The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) vision of disabled-friendly infrastructure in schools by March 2020 seems unattainable now Inbox x

Wed, 02/19/2020 - 14:18 -- geeta.nair

The non-availability of ramps for children with special needs at Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 45-A, became a cause of concern for the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR), a team of which visited the school today.

There are more than 10 children with special needs (CWSN) enrolled in the school. Classes for some of them are being run on the first and second floor. A school official claimed that multiple requests had been made to the UT Education Department regarding the need for a ramp in the school, but to no avail.

Led by conviction

 

28-year-old Suraj Dubey was born blind in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. When he came to pursue his graduation in Delhi, Suraj faced several difficulties. An ardent follower of Eyeway’s radio programmes, he called the Helpdesk for support.

Ignorance and Apathy

Born blind in Pune, Maharashtra, Shruti Gujjar suffered at the hands of her family’s ignorance. Abandoned by her biological mother when she was only one, her stepmother considered the little girl a worthless burden. Family’s neglect led to delayed developmental milestones in Shruti, furthering her dependence on them.

Evolving with exposure

In 2011, a timid young girl called the Eyeway Helpdesk from Kashmir. She asked several questions pertaining to vision impairment but was wary of giving out any personal details. Only several calls later did we figure that Qurat Khan suffered from gradual vision loss due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. Studying in Class 12, she explained her struggles in the classroom with the printed syllabus.

Donning a new avatar

 

34-year-old Praveen Shankhdhar had a steady career in advertising before he experienced sudden sight loss. He lost his job as an Art Director, given the inability to work using visual media. Too shocked to respond, he reached out to his family.

Sharing his blessings

The Eyeway Helpdesk receives 1500 to 2000 calls a month from visually impaired people across India. Most callers ask for opportunities of education and employment, government provisions and guidelines, aids and appliances, anything that will enable them to lead an independent life.

Defying the odds

21-year-old Sandeep Kumar was born blind in Samastipur, Bihar. He struggled against all odds to study till Class 8. Schools in his district denied him admission and teachers didn’t want to waste their time on a blind boy. He was fourteen when he enrolled in a Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan camp, where he learnt to read and write in Braille. Despite his interest and hard work, his progress was stunted by lack of awareness and scant resources.

Counseling for a bright future

Prabhsimran Singh visited the Eyeway Helpdesk in Delhi along with his mother in the year 2018 seeking career guidance. The twenty-five-year-old from Gurugram, Haryana is visually impaired since his childhood and has completed his BA (H) in Hindi from Delhi University. Born into a middle-class family, his father is a businessman and mother is a private school teacher. Growing up he felt overprotected by his mother, who also constantly compared him to other children in the family. This left him under-confident.

Starting all over again

39-year-old Kiran from Kerala was forced to leave his high paying job in the Gulf when he gradually began to lose his sight due to Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic eye disorder. A computer hardware engineer by profession, Kiran came back to India as he could not cope with the demands of the job with 75% vision loss.

Moving forward with optimism

Everything was going perfectly for thirty-one-year-old Sudhir Kumar from Jehanabad, Bihar. Married and father to three children, he worked as an accountant to fend for his family. This short-lived secured life ended when he was prescribed medication by the doctor for an eye irritation that reacted adversely, causing sudden vision loss. After extensive and prolonged treatment, the doctor could only restore 20 % of his vision. During this period, he had to let go of his job causing financial distress to the family.

From self-doubt to self-discovery


 

Born sighted into a middle-class family, twenty-three-year-old Anil Mhaske from Paithan, Aurangabad gradually began to lose his sight at the age of four. He was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder of the eyes that causes loss of vision. His parents, however, enrolled him in a mainstream Marathi medium school.

A new start with many possibilities


 

21-year-old Loknath hails from Durg, Chhattisgarh. Born blind by birth into a poor family, he managed to study only till class 8 through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Government of India’s flagship programme making education free and compulsory to children between 6 and14 years.. With SSA’s special focus on education of children with special needs, he was able to learn braille during his time in the school.

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