[AI] Blindfolded, they Experienced Disability

shahnaz shycurrim at yahoo.co.in
Thu Sep 9 11:16:12 EDT 2010

Blindfolded, they experienced disability
Published: Thursday, Sep 9, 2010, 2:22 IST
By Mihika Basu | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Imagine working, boarding a bus or even shopping blindfolded.
This is exactly what students and professionals experienced at a 
sensitisation workshop-cum-exhibition
organised by the Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged 
(XRCVC) at
St Xavier's College on Wednesday.
The two-day event, Antarchakshu, focused on three aspects: education, 
routine activities and accessible consumer products.
"No amount of lectures can make one understand ground realities. The 
learning process is aimed at sensitising people about the lives of 
the visually challenged
and will give people a deeper understanding of the problems faced," 
said Sam Taraporevala,
XRCVC director. From getting a taste of the hazards on our roads and 
problems, to learning skills required for identifying, travelling and 
boarding a
bus, around 580 participants went through the experience blindfolded.
"Let alone the right infrastructure, we don't even have the right 
attitude towards
disability in India. The workshop should make people aware of the 
needs of disabled,"
said Arun Sehgal, visiting professor at the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute 
of Management
Several participants said the best feature was the two BEST buses 
which were stationed
inside the college. "I learnt how difficult it is for the visually 
challenged to
board our buses, let alone identify whether it's the correct one or 
not," said Zeenat
Motiwala, student of the Bombay Teachers' Training College (Colaba).
Around 130 student volunteers guided the participants as they tried 
to shop, walk
through hurdles, and assemble circuits, among other things. "Some 
participants were
nervous and insecure since they couldn't see anything," said Henna 
Khemani, a student-guide.
Ravi Thakur, a visually challenged Xavier's alumni, said the target 
audience this
year was not just students, but professionals, academicians and 
corporates. "Visually
challenged professionals from various fields de-briefed the 
participants. People
should realise that we are equally capable," said Thakur, who works 
with the National
Association for the Blind.


More information about the AccessIndia mailing list