White Cane Day

It is a pity that inspite of sight, those who can see, sometimes have limited vision. We have here Mr. Pradeep Deshpande’s feelings and insight on the visually handicapped. He is very actively involved in reading to the blind children at the blind school in Koregaon Park, Pune.

We acquire knowledge through Five Sense Organs viz. Ear, Nose, Tongue, Eyes and Skin. Out of that 80 to 85% is acquired through the eyes. This explains the importance of eyes in all living beings. If a child is born sight–less in a family the parents’ first reaction is shock and next one is disbelief of how a blind child can take birth in our house when we have no problem and then the guilty feeling takes over the family.

There are many misunderstandings in the people e.g.

  • Child person cannot do anything on his/her own.
  • Blind person is a burden to the family in particular and on Society at large.
  • The blind person is an economic burden on the Society.
  • The blind person is completely dependent on the other people even for his/her basic needs like eating, drinking, taking bath, attending toilets etc.
  • He cannot take up studies or higher education.
  • They cannot cook food or do house–hold duties.

But as I have said earlier they are all MISUNDERSTANDINGS. Yes, one thing is true that a blind person cannot perform some of the duties as a normal sighted person can do e.g. he cannot watch TV. He cannot read books or magazines or daily news paper like the normal sighted person. Also the blind children take little longer to learn to walk than children with normal sight. But with a little training they can perform fully well. They can read books, study to any level they wish by learning Braille Script. They can earn wages for their living and not only become independent but can support their family members who can depend on them for monetary support. There are lots of jobs of repetitive nature which they can learn and attain mastery and perform skillfully. e.g. Making Candles, Chalks, Hand–made paper etc. They can knit the cane chairs or other furniture, they can handle telephone boards, can operate type–writers and computers specially made for blind people. They can become good teachers, players, artists etc.

If people understand the problems of the sight–less person and help them a little, the sight–less can learn very well. They need training in different way. Normal sighted persons can see the thing and acquire knowledge and does not need much explanation. But the blind does need explanation. The blind does not know what is sky, cloud, moon, stars and how they look, they do not know the animals like Lion, Tiger, Fox, Elephant etc. which they cannot touch. They cannot understand very small insects. They need to be told all these in proper words and through the models which they can touch. Even then their imagination can be far from the actual.