Here’s why Cricket for the Blind can be a game changer

Cricket for the blind can become a means for expression, exposure and empowerment for the visually impaired population of our country.

By George Abraham

In February 2017, India won the 2nd T-20 World Cup for Cricket for the Blind, beating Pakistan in the finals at Bengaluru. The entire nation celebrated. Cash prizes were announced. The Prime Minister tweeted and invited the team home for tea. Television channels hosted the Indian Blind Cricket team on news programmes and chat and reality shows. Social media was abuzz with videos, photos, posts, and discussions on the triumph.

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How Technology Is Helping Visually Impaired People Take Exams Independently

In the Digital India of today, there is a need to re-look at the modes of assessment for blind and visually impaired students.

Do you remember playing ‘Chinese Whispers’ as kids? Whispering words and phrases down a chain of friends, and ending up in giggles at the distorted line of communication!

For those who are not familiar with the game, one person whispers a phrase into the ear of the next person in line, who then whispers the word to the third in line. When the word reaches the last person in the chain, the phrase is spelled out loud. Usually, the phrase is very different from what was communicated by the first person in the chain. An ideal case of lost in translation!

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Finding connections

Roshan (name changed) lives in Karnataka and he is blind. He has been trying hard to secure an electricity connection for some time now. Despite several visits to the Panchayat office, Roshan could not get all necessary information on the same. That’s when he decided to get in touch with the Eyeway Helpdesk. Our counsellors assisted him with the application process under the reservation quota, informed him of the Rs.1000 service charge from which he was exempt and gave him the confidence to approach the Panchyat office. Roshan approached their office again with his application correctly filled out. This time they accepted his application. Lack of awareness of schemes, rules and guidelines both on the part of a visually impaired person and on the part of authorities is a major challenge that needs to be overcome. While drafting rules to empower the disabled is the first step taken by the government, implementation and a change of mindset are critical for a visible change to follow the schematic changes being put in place to impact the lives of visually impaired people.

A passion for music

16 year old Rohit (name changed) called the Eyeway Helpdesk hoping that he could receive some guidance on pursuing his passion for music. Rohit shared with the counselor his dream to become a musician except he didn’t know how to turn that dream into reality. Initially, Rohit was reluctant to share information about himself but over a few conversations our counselors learnt that he had not been attending school. He only wanted to play music and was not interested in any of the other subjects that were taught at school. Our counselors made it a point to convey to him the importance of education and persuaded him to go back to school. They found a Government School in Bhopal where along with other subjects he could also learn music. He is now trying to follow the advice and suggestions made to him by our Helpdesk.

The value of information

47 year old Deepchand (name changed) a resident of Dungarpur in Rajasthan teaches at a local Senior Secondary school. He got in touch with the Eyeway Helpdesk when he was denied a home loan from the Bank of Baroda on account of his blindness. Our counselor informed him of the RBI and IBA guidelines which clearly state that banks cannot deny facilities on the basis of blindness. The Helpdesk also emailed the RBI circular to him. Deepchand returned to the bank equipped with  the guidelines. The bank had no choice but to issue him a home loan and apologize for the inconvenience they had caused. Every month we get similar queries of blind and visually impaired persons being denied accounts, loans, chequebooks etc. Despite many nationalized banks having taken initiatives to enable visually impaired and blind persons to access facilities with ease, many of their employees continue to operate with age old biases and prejudice. This needs to change. Banks need to ensure that their rules and guidelines are known to all their employees and translate into effective action and sensitized attitudes.

Media

Score Foundation uses different channels of media like Radio, Television as well as the digital medium to raise awareness about the issues faced by the blind population of the country. If you have any suggestions or you would like to contribute to our content, please write to our Communications Executive, Anoushka Mathews at anoushka.mathews@eyeway.org

Support The Blind

Pratish Dutta, gold medalist in MSc Mathematics from IIT Kharagpur.

Kanchanmala Pande, swimmer with Limca record in sea swimming.

Asif Iqbal, MBA working as Principal Consultant with Price Waterhouse Coopers.

What do these three have in common?

They are all visually impaired.

Their hard work and persistence helped them overcome their disability.

And most importantly, they were fortunate enough to get an opportunity to prove their potential.

Life does not stop with blindness.

Help us in our endeavor to empower millions of blind and visually impaired people living across India.

Your contributions can open a world of opportunities for them.

Donate to Score Foundation.