Pappu Khushwaha

3rd March 2011 was the first time when 15-year-old Pappu Khushwaha called the Helpdesk to enquire about government provisions for people with blindness after listening to our radio show – Eyeway Yeh Hai Roshni Ka Karawan.

Pappu who is completely blind, was at the time studying in class 10th in a government school namely – Sarvodaya Vidyalaya which is in Hemu Colony, Lajpat Nagar, Delhi. On asking, we apprised him of provisions like concession in air fare, reservation of seats in Indian Railways and gave him much more information meant for persons with visual impairment. The cordial interaction and right kind of information built his confidence in us and with the passage of time we developed a mutual bond of trust and a good rapport. He now found us a reliable source for any desired information on life with blindness. It is his trust in us which brought many blind boys of the same school to the Helpdesk.

He along with 40 other blind students of his school stayed in an Amar Colony based hostel meant for blind boys which does not provide any other facility except boarding and lodging and the school also does not provide an environment that is conducive towards blind students.

In the month of September 2011, like previous years, the students were asked to arrange scribes on their own for the 1st-term exams as the school strictly denied the facility. The students could not arrange scribes since exams were also going on in other schools. At this time, he along with other students with the hope of getting the issue resolved, approached Helpdesk. When simple persuasion from our Helpdesk and advocacy teams did not resolve the issue, we garnered the media’s support to pressurize the school to provide writers to the students which is the school’s duty according to Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to which it is affiliated. Consequently the school did provide the scribes. Later on we approached Delhi Directorate of Education for various issues pertaining to education of blind students at school level.

Our interaction is still ongoing. He keeps calling us for information from Mumbai-based Wilson College where he currently is studying B.A. pass course. He thanked us for providing help in his time of need including the assistance provided in pre-admission process in his college.