A young country like India has about 65% people below the age of 30 years, if determined these can change anything they want to, but only a few of us hardly think to give ourselves some pain for the betterment of others.
To begin with, our Fergusson College, Pune has about 80-90 differently abled students studying undergraduate and junior college courses. Most of them come from a poor background and are very shy to ask for help at once. Saathi enabling centre is a support group of college students who actually try to make the world ACCESSIBLE for these people. Being a part of Saathi, I can say students learning subjects of humanities are large in numbers but only some of them actually turn out to be a HUMAN for these people who are mostly treated as less than us. (Well they are very excellent artists in music, dance, comparing, academics, composing, and they never fail to ammuse people with their God gifted and self nurtured talents… God knows how people still think of them as less than themselves…
I have seen people thinking of these blind students as beggars many a times whenever they approach anyone for help. A differently abled student Aniket said, “We don’t want sympathy,we just need a FRIEND.” The college toilets are still very difficult to be accessed. Being poor and sometimes even orphans, these people find it hard to survive at a metrocity like Pune. Saathi took a notice of this and came forward as a friend rather than as a sympathiser.
It has established a braille corner in library, urged college authorities to arrange for ramps at some classrooms, runs computer education classes, provides writers at the time of exams, celebrates the Saathi fest (a fest created by the specially abled as a thanks giving to every common man who came forward as a FRIEND),the Braille day and the yearly adventurous treks and picnics at various forts and caves. What is still not achieved is the issue of real accessibility to toilets and drinking water. We are striving hard for this too, may be we volunteers get tired sometimes but the pure smiles on the faces of our differently abled friends makes for it all. The warmth of the hugs these people give every time you meet them, is the only thing which fosters a new spirit into us to work more and more for them and to make the world a better place for their living with dignity. https://www.facebook.com/Saathifergussoncollege/