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Sighted people try to understand what a day in the dark feels like

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 10:12 -- geeta.nair

80 people perform regular tasks in a dark room in Worli

The National Association for the Blind (NAB) offered a glimpse into the life of the visually challenged on Tuesday, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The purpose behind the exercise was to give people a sense of how the visually challenged overcome hurdles in their daily lives.

NAB has been working for socio- economic rehabilitation of the visually challenged through education, training and employment. As part of the exercise, a dark room was created at its head office in Worli, and around 80 participants were taken into a dark room and asked to perform normal tasks like movement and interaction for 15 minutes.
The theme of the event was ‘experience the dark’. The simulation exercise not only gave them a feel of the life of a visually challenged person but also served as a sensitisation workshop. People often think a visually challenged person cannot contribute much to society. Through this exercise, we wanted to change that perspective,” said Pallavi Kadam, executive director, NAB India.

People from various age groups, from school and college students to working professionals, attended the event. Janhavi M. Misal, a Dadar resident, said the exercise gave her the answer to the question, ‘What if I was blind?’

Another participant, Chitra Naik, who has been working for the welfare of visually challenged children, said, “Being associated with visually impaired children, it was very necessary for me to learn how these children function in different activities. It was amazing.”

Siddhika Gosavi, a student of Sasmira College, said it is impossible for people to understand how visually challenged people function without going through the experience.

Ms. Kadam said NAB has been working for the welfare of visually challenged people for seven decades. “We have always tried to come up with activities, with the help of various assistive devices, to empower visually challenged people. We have also established the NAB Perfumery college, where the visually challenged are trained to work as perfume testers, evaluators and quality checkers. For empowering visually challenged people, society does not need to show them sympathy. Rather, they need to create adequate educational and job opportunities for them,” Ms. Kadam said.

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