By Ravi Nitesh:
The Government of India observed prevention of blindness week during 1st to 7th April. Blindness is a painful word that probably cannot be felt by all those who have eyes, but surely by those who can not see and somewhat by those who have eyes but they are sensitive enough to feel this pain. Though all citizens must be aware enough to protect their eyes and to keep them healthy, there are a lot of people who are blind by birth or get blindness due to any accident etc.
In India, there are approx 10 million people who are blind and living at various places. Approx number of blind people all over the world is approx 37 million. The government has made several efforts in establishing the institutes, agencies, hospitals etc. to provide better opportunities for these people. In fact, it will be more suitable to provide them equal opportunities as other people have. There are so many things and facilities that still have to be made available for all of them. Either it is primary needs such as education and healthcare or special provisions that need special attention for these people. In spite of various efforts by government and non government organizations, the condition has not improved much.
In an inspiring example, blind people in J&K staged a protest in January to demand the Braille system in education from pre nursery to higher education; they also demanded education loan and other facilities for them. Though it was a protest, but certainly it must be viewed as positive demand that will not only benefit the direct beneficiaries (the blind people) but also to government and the region in a lot of ways. It is also nice to see such efforts by the people who are living in this state and it shows their progressiveness and awareness in their demand. Very few places in India witnessed such protest and demand by the affected people and it shows their desire to achieve progress. In fact, it is not only limited to desire, but it is a right that must be available to them.
At the time when the world is moving towards a progressive era, these people who are differently abled are unable to get all those new updates. There are certain things that need to be looked upon.
In education, we see that many institutes are providing education to blind students but still we have to look as most of the students in these institutes are still not up to the level of average. Faculties are required to be more sensitive towards these students. They not only require sensitive effort but also extra effort. Departments, publication houses, NGOs all should have to join hands together to provide full support to these people. Braille is the popular language tool available to these people and it can get wide scope to cater to the requirement. In spite of popularity, Braille still could not be developed as a language that every blind person can understand. On the same pattern of literacy project of GoI where even old aged people are learning the alphabets, blind people community should get opportunity to learn and use this tool and its applications. Volunteers and publications should translate as much books as they can, these people should get an opportunity to read and experience the history, literature etc.
In an overall attempt, the conclusion is to pay attention towards the marginalized community of these differently abled people, to be sensitive enough, to learn the effective techniques of interaction. We must focus towards Eye Donation as it has proved as an effective tool for all of them. We must have easy to do facilities in all cities where after every death; eyes can be donated so that it can bring light in the life of a blind person.