Demonetization Blues

Govt needs to ensure that the recent demonetization does not lead to financial exclusion of the blind and visually impaired citizens

If the recent demonetization of 1000 and 500 rupee notes has to be made into a success for all sections of society then one needs to pay attention to the below listed red flags as far as persons with blindness and visual impairment are concerned. A cashless digital economy may imply near financial exclusion of the blind population from the mainstream economy. Read more

Overcoming disability through a positive attitude towards life

By Shruti Pushkarna

Visual impairment is not in the eyes, it’s in the mind. If you will feel that you are visually impaired then you will not be able to do anything. You need to go out of the way to explore the world.

Says Chetna Nagpal, who was born with an eye condition called Nystagmus. It is a condition of involuntary eye movement that may result in reduced or limited vision. In her case, Chetna can see things but is unable to focus on anything. But unlike many, Chetna does not find her disability to be limiting. She believes visual impairment is more of a mental condition than a physical one.
A 21 year old ambitious young woman, she is studying in her first year Political Science major in one of India’s top colleges, Lady Shri Ram College for Women. Born to totally blind parents, Chetna did not have it easy while growing up. Chetna’s parents did not know she could see at all until the age where she started to talk and point out things to them. Read more

Hospital to Hospit-able: How hospitals can overcome inaccessibility

By Anoushka Mathews

Most government hospitals in Delhi, despite being spaces for diagnosis and recovery, are teeming with lines, unending paper work, and tired patients. The wait is long for those who do not have an uncle or cousin working at the hospital. However, for those who are visually impaired, even basic access to hospital services and facilities is possible only through dependence or great strife.

Imagine being visually impaired and visiting the hospital alone. The obstacle course begins even before entering the hospital. The only way to locate the main gate is to rely on a helpful passerby. On arriving at the main entrance, again, the only way to proceed further is to depend on directions from a guard or a fellow patient. Many are not trained to provide such assistance, and may provide instructions that might not make much sense to a person who is blind or visually impaired. Read more

World Disability Day Musings

By George Abraham

Every blind Indian is potentially a part of the Human Resource of the country. They must be invested in and not merely provided for. The nation needs to realize this as much as the government, the society, the families and the blind person himself or herself needs to realize this. There is a huge potential which we need to recognize, nurture and tap into. Read more

Media and Disability

How can Media be more inclusive towards persons with disabilities?

By George Abraham

Often we hear journalists raise a question on behalf of persons with disabilities, “Is the government doing enough for the country’s disabled population?” Reporters and anchors accuse the government representatives for not doing enough to make the environment ‘inclusive’?
How about we turn this question around and ask our friends in the media, “What role does the media play towards inclusion of persons with disabilities? Does the media practice what it preaches?”
In today’s day and age, media is a powerful medium which can be used to bring about transformation of any kind. If media became more sensitive towards the needs of the disabled, it will automatically get reflected in the society at large, because of the impact media has on a large section of the population.  Read more

How to make Indian Monuments more Accessible to the Blind and Visually Impaired

By Akanksha Sharma

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the India Gate lawns, on a bright sunny day. What do you see? Groups of people with family and friends, picnic baskets in hand? Now imagine a blind person trying to find his/her way around the Amar Jawan Jyoti. He/she is likely to be lost with no proper markings or anyone to guide. Have you ever wondered that the little pleasures we experience as part of the society might be closed to a section of our population? Monuments give us a sense of the history of a particular place. But do blind and visually impaired people have access to these monuments in their own cities? Read more

Empowering the Visually Impaired: Opportunities & Challenges

By George Abraham

Hari Raghavan does business development at Dell. Charudatta Jadhav is an International Chess master and an IT professional with TCS. Pankaj Sinha is a practicing lawyer at the Delhi High Court. Dilip Loyolka, Samir Late and Rajani Gopalkrishna are practicing Chartered Accountants. Sudha Patel, Sanjay Dang and Siddhartha Sharma are entrepreneurs. Sundeep Rao is a stand-up comedian. G. Subramaniam and L. Subramani are journalists. Payal Kapur is a sales professional with a hotel. All of them are blind and all of them are extremely accomplished and successful. The question to be considered is “are these people merely outstanding exceptions or are these people examples pointing towards possibilities and potential in a life with blindness?”. Read more