The problems faced by visually-impaired individuals are multifold. Ranging from lack of accessible facilities to getting an opportunity to upskill themselves, they require an inclusive environment to be fostered in order to become more self-reliant. With the same vision in mind, The Blind Relief Association situated in New Delhi has been helping such individuals lead their lives with confidence and dignity for the past 75 years.
With the festive season around the corner, the association has organised a ‘Blind School Diwali Mela’. Started in 1980, the Diwali Mela is held annually at the sprawling grounds near Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg in the premises of the association. The trainees and the staff members could be spotted working swiftly through various stalls where products made by the trainees are showcased. The earnings from this event are directed towards financing the association, which provides free training to the visually-impaired individuals.
While speaking to The Logical Indian, Swapna Merlin, the communication head at the association shares, “At the association, we aim to boost the confidence of the trainees by giving them training in various areas such as personality development, and spoken English. We also provide vocational courses such as computer training. Apart from training them, we attempt to provide them with resources such as reading the material in Braille and audiobooks on various topics. I feel that they can work as confidently as any other individual when given appropriate training, and it could be a life-changing session for them.”
Apart from the Diwali Mela, the association runs a year-long programme for the visually-impaired who have not got any chance to receive a formal education. The association also attempts to provide them with placements and has a list of trainees who are able to transform their personal lives post attending the training sessions. The computer training has assisted many individuals in achieving their career goals.
Before you buy candles from our Diwali Bazar, see how Padmavati, a multi-skill trainee hailing from the rural parts of Chhattisgarh packs them quickly, neatly and firmly.Turn on the speakers to hear Padma's song!
The Blind Relief Association Delhi ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಅಕ್ಟೋಬರ್ 21, 2019
Mohammed Shakib Khan, one of the trainees hailing from Ghaziabad, shared his story of from being shy to be being able to hold a mic and speak confidently. “I was very hesitant in public speaking before coming here. I never had the confidence to speak on mic publicly and never thought that I would be doing story-telling sessions. But post coming here, I have received spoken classes, and it helped me a lot. I have also learnt book-binding and stitching here. It makes me happy to learn new skills, and there’s still so much to learn,” he said.
Another trainee named Jyoti Prajapati said she regained her confidence after coming to the association. “After losing my eyesight, I never thought that I would be able to experience things as before. I was dependent on others, and I felt that I would never be completely on my own. But after coming here, I have gained back my lost confidence, and I don’t regret what happened in the past. The skills which I’ve gained here help me each day- be it commuting, expressing myself or reading new things. I have found good friends over here, and we stay together like a big family,” she said.
Under the aegis of the association, a senior secondary school is also run. The school is recognised by the Directorate of Education, NCT Delhi and CBSE. It provides free education, boarding, lodging, books and other services to boys from nursery till class 12th. At the same time, it encourages them to take part in diverse extracurricular activities. Their main objective is to impart essential skills to the students so that they could become a part of the mainstream. Also, their six-month relaxation-massage training, call-centre programme, and candle-making programme has helped many of them find employment and lead their lives independently.
The life-transforming stories of the visually-impaired individuals appeal to our mind and put in question the present-day state of accessibility for the blind population in our country. The Logical Indian salutes the efforts of the Blind Relief Association that has been and the forefront of empowering the visually impaired individuals for the past 75 years.