Call for compassion: Visually impaired community holds awareness rally on World White Cane Day
Organised by the Blind Lead Trust in collaboration with Meghalaya Liberation Association of Visually Impaired, the objective of the rally was to call for people’s support towards the community and spread awareness about the significance of the white cane in their lives.
Every day is a tough day for Krishna Phawa. Being born visually impaired isn’t easy, and he has learnt it the hard way. By now, he has kind of excepted his fate. But on October 15, standing on the dais of All Saints Hall in IGP, he had an important message for everyone. “Some people kick our canes when we walk on the street. Sometimes, bus and taxi drivers don’t drop us at the right destination. We urge the people to help us and show a little compassion towards us,” he said.
Phawa was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the World White Cane Day that saw the participation of the visually impaired community of Meghalaya. To observe the day, the community, in the morning, held an awareness rally that began from Malki Ground and concluded at the All Saints Hall. Organised by the Blind Lead Trust in collaboration with Meghalaya Liberation Association of Visually Impaired, the objective of the rally was to call for people’s support towards the community and spread awareness about the significance of the white cane in their lives.
Speaking to The North East Today, president of Meghalaya Liberation Association of Visually Impaired, Elkin Ryngiaw, urged the Block Development Officers (BDOs) across the state to include the people with disability (PWDs) in the government’s flagship programme - Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) - which also known as the 100-Day Scheme. “It will be immensely beneficial for them,” he said.
Notably, a report titled, Inclusion of persons with disabilities under MGNREGS: A Study Across Three States, published on January 2013, by the National Institute of Rural Development, states that engagement of disabled people in MGNREGA work in Meghalaya is quite limited. “North-eastern states like Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram engaged 2 per cent of the disabled in MGNREGA work, while Sikkim provided employment to 1 per cent of the disabled,” the report read.
Co-founder and director of Blind Lead Trust, Jitendra Dkhar said that the pandemic has hit the community hard and “many were facing problems in procuring basic necessities during the lockdown”. He added that finding sponsors to organise the rally for the World White Cane Day too was an issue and the Trust had to ask help from the shopkeepers and vendors of Iewduh (Bara Bazaar) and the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) Laitkor unit. Dkhar also urged the government to regularise the payment for beneficiaries of Chief Minister’s Social Assistance Scheme 2012.
Rev. P. Dkhar of Bible Society of India,Shillong Auxiliary, said, “There are many more things that need to be done for their welfare,” he said, adding that they will be launching a Braille calendar for 2022.
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