The pandemic has affected the lives of millions in a trajectory that might have left a void but has also extracted examples of goodness in people. Tiffany Brar, Thiruvananthapuram-based visually-challenged differently-abled rights activist completed her quarantine after being tested positive for COVID 19.
She was concerned about differently-abled people during this pandemic who might be bereft of required facilities for home quarantine after experiencing the challenges the virus posed.
"We need to touch things frequently to access our environment. Social distancing is not easy for us as we require additional support. I went to New Delhi last month to attend a few programs there. By the time I returned home, I tested COVID-19 positive. Just because I have a house and a room of my own, my Vineetha Akka (her caretaker since childhood), and her children, I didn't find it difficult to move on. But that's not the case with many out there," says Tiffany, reported The New Indian Express
The 30-year-old activist has been training people from as far as Malappuram and Kozhikode for years. In an attempt to make visually impaired people more self-reliant, she has been regulating Jyothirgamaya Foundation since 2012.
Her foundation fosters an environment to train people in personal grooming, interpersonal skills, cooking, spoken English, currency note identification, using gadgets, and playing chess, and many other skills.
From her dedicated efforts, more than 200 visually impaired people have been assisted and benefitted. With a celebratory motto "catch them young and teach them well" she has even established a preparatory school/kindergarten for visually challenged children. All these are accessible free of cost including hostel facilities.
"A majority of the differently-abled people including women have lost their livelihoods. The various mobile applications developed to combat COVID-19 should be made accessible for us too. We have difficulty in going to hospitals now, and volunteers are needed to help us. Even when we go to the bank, we need extra help as people are hesitant to touch us," she says.
Tiffany is dejected that the differently-able community or their caretakers have still not being provided with spot registration for vaccines." We hope the state government will come out with subsidized rates of Rs 250-300 for RT-PCR tests for the disabled as a special drive," she says.
Tiffany communicates with the differently-abled on a daily basis, helping to keep their morale up and advising them to avoid potentially dangerous conditions. She is especially worried about the possibility that they would be considered a "nuisance" by others.
Tiffany Brar, the only daughter of retired General TPS Brar and the late Leslie Brar, grew up in the state capital after her father joined the Pangode Military Camp as a Brigadier in 1995.
She is a recipient of many coveted prizes, including the Holman Prize 2020 from the Light House for the Blind in the United States and the Department of Empowerment's national award for "best role model."
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