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Lending Meaning to the Lives of Visually Impaired Tribal Children in Chhattisgarh

GPM district administration in Chhattisgarh, is enrolling visually impaired children in schools
Indian Masterminds Stories

Seeing new things, playing with friends and studying in schools is every child’s wish but it was a dream a bunch of tribal children in Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi district of Chhattisgarh never had as they were visually impaired. The darkness of their world was stark and having born in a tribal family living in a remote area, added to that misery.

Even their parents and peers had no hope of a ‘normal life’. But an IAS officer, Ms. Richa Prakash Choudhary, as the District Collector of the GPM district, along with the support of an NGO took a leap of faith and planned to enroll them in schools.

IDENTIFYING DISABLED PEOPLE

While speaking with Indian Masterminds, Ms Richa Choudhary said, “The main stigma for these families lay in making their children do things like normal children. Due to this they dropped out of the social and school life.  Hehe economical crunch added to their misery.”

IAS Officer Richa Prakash Choudhary, DC GPM District, Chhattisgarh

To break this stigma, a unique campaign to identify school age visually impaired children was launched by the Collector in July, 2022. The orientation program was about all the 21 notable disabilities and around 2500 teachers attended it. Master trainers and other institutions also attended the day long interactive online workshop. The officer said, “After this workshop, we realized that there is a need to take things on a more proactive manner.”

Around 1100 children were identified with all kinds of disabilities and this included 120 children who were in primary school age groups with partial and complete blindness.

VOLUNTEERS

An NGO named Ek Kadam working for such people with disabilities was present in the workshop and also extended a helping hand to the district administration to fight this issue together. With their support a volunteer-based mentoring program was taken up where eight completely blind children were selected. A local volunteer from their tribal area was given a weekly assignment that included various activities they needed to do with the children and their family.

Ms. Richa said, “It is not only the children who we needed to work with but most importantly their parents and peers who needed to be sensitized.”

Teaching the disabled children

This carried on till a couple of months till the child gets comfortable. They were taught basic things through touch, sense, sound, etc. Post that braille training was introduced to make them recognize the basic things they learnt like alphabets etc.

After the competition of this program, these children are sent to school. All syllabus books including NCERT are being converted into braille and moreover, audio session are also being launched.

Through this initiative the visually impaired children and their parents have got confidence in making their children educated and better in life. Post their studies, the administration will also help them with other life skills opportunities and support them in the longer run.


Indian Masterminds Stories

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