Sunday 10 June 2012

Into the world of the visually imparied - by Nitin Kumar

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
From my graduation days I was groomed to be sympathetic towards persons with visual impairment. I am fortunate to get several opportunities to interact with visually impaired. This has changed my perspective from “persons with disabilities” to “specially abled persons”.
I do remember the day I was asked to be blindfolded and made to walk around the known places for a moment. Although I was familiar with the place it was a mammoth challenge. This really made me think of the difficulties faced by persons with visual impairment.
Following this I closely started working with some NGOs like Mitra Jyoti Trust for the Blind, Bangalore – an institute working for empowerment of visually impaired; Shri Sharadha Devi Andara Vikasa Kendra, Shimoga & Catherine Roman Blind School, Mangalore. These close interactions have strengthened my will power to do something different for these specially able individuals.
In our country we don’t have any strong system to empower specially able persons. We should be grateful to some NGOs who are into empowering these individuals with support of other organizations fighting all challenges.
Though we claim to live amidst advance technologies, many of us are unaware that a person with any impairment or disability can live an Independent life just like person with no such disability. By undergoing special training, a specially abled person can move around independently in any place. They can study any subject by using braille and Joss software. They can do all the operations of daily life. But they do need a small percentage of SUPPORT from people round them.
Is the life of a visual impaired in darkness? A big NO from me. They can live a normal life as you and me. They sing, dance, crack jokes, make fun of others, share lighter moments. Our visually impaired friends love reading books, listening to radio and TV, talking to people and also enjoy playing games.
I have come across many visually impaired friends who are very talented and remarkable. Did you know that there is a visually impaired person who has secured the first rank in Bangalore University and is currently perusing her MBA from IIAM, Bangalore. I know of another visually impaired person who is a talented writer and is now living independently and working in UK as a freelance content. I have also had the privilege of meeting a visually impaired chartered accountant who is working for India’s top IT company Infosys. There are also several others including the head of Mitra Jyothi Trust for the Blind and three visually impaired sisters successfully running the Shri Sharadha Andara Vikasa Kendra for more than a decade. These have transformed the lives of lakhs of people though their live and their organizations.
Yes, we have amazing people who have challenged their disability and have excelled. Whenever I analyze all these I always think I being a ‘normal person’ gifted with sensory abilities need to do much more than them. My achievements are too small before their work. 
All of us are able to sympathize with the persons with disabilities. But do they need our sympathy? No they don’t. All they need is support to get trained to live independent lives. By supporting any NGO which working towards this we definitely can will bring the remarkable change in their lives of persons with disabilities. This calls for a movement, a reformation.
I am not exceptionally gifted. I am one among you all and aspire to make the live of my friends more colorful by helping them to see the inner colours of life.
With this context I would like to tell you about The Imagine Trust. This group has been founded with the determination of making a difference to the lives of all our friends who are suffering from various situations, circumstances. Be it poor, suffering or persons with disabilities Imagine works with them to make them strong members of the society. This group of ours has already taken few baby steps to bring about a change. Join us to add colours to the lives of millions.
Last Note
Say to the blind “you’re free”. Open the door that was separating him from the world. Go, you are free, we tell them once more, and they do not move. They remain motionless there in the middle of the road because they do not know where to go. Then comes your role to stretch your hand and help him. To fill them with confidence and train them to lead an independent life like you and me.
By Nitin Kumar