Women with Blindness …. Agra Convention 2014



Blind Stars Beyond Facebook Bridging The Gap

7th to 9th November, 2014

Session 7

Women with Blindness – Challenges and Expectations: 

The speaker of this session was Miss Shalini Khanna from the Centre for Blind Women in Delhi which was established after a study called ‘Status of Blind Women in India’. The study painted a pathetic picture of the blind women in the rural areas. In many cases, the blind girl was married off to the same person as her sighted sister because the parents did not understand how to deal with her. A majority of the blind women could not perform the basic daily tasks like cooking etc. This lead to their being considered as absolutely ‘unwanted’ by the society.

Miss Khanna trains blind women to become self- dependent in all walks of life- be it cooking for themselves, studying, finding employment. The following questions were raised by the speaker that the society needs to find answers to:

  • Gender is a major issue for a visually impaired girl even today. ‘Being a girl’ and ‘being a blind girl’ at that is nothing short of an aberration in our society which it is struggling to accept.
  • Why is a blind girl discriminated against in every aspect, be it the freedom to step out of their houses, residential facilities in Special Schools and Universities, employment and issues of marriage?
  • What is the place of a girl who is blind in our society? Why are we not giving her a chance to break free of the burdens of misconceptions and misplaced fears that follow her from the day she is born?
  • Aren’t the doubts and fears of the parents of such a girl a mere projection of the society’s sympathetic attitude towards them?
  • Considering a visually impaired girl as one not capable of sensing the danger ahead and protecting herself from it leads to her isolation from the society, which ultimately chooses to forgets about her existence. Is this justified?
  • Why don’t visually impaired men want to marry visually impaired and instead seek sighted partners? Does this mean they are looking for someone to depend upon instead of a partner?
  • A visually impaired girl could become educated, and self-dependent in every aspect of life but still, she has to struggle to get accepted as a part of the society because it is still believed that the position and status of a woman is tied to the man she is married to.

The speaker cited various instances of how, when given a chance, visually impaired women have set examples for others:-

  • A visually impaired girl who is the only literate person in her village started a school in her village.
  • A visually impaired girl was invited to U.S.A. to raise funds for an organization by sharing her inspirational story.
  • Various visually impaired girls who, when given employment, became the biggest motivational factors for the other employees in their organizations.

The visually impaired woman has taken the leap towards emancipation; it is the society that needs to come out of its skewed perceptions of such women. When the parents of a blind girl nurture dreams for her, she is instilled with the faith that she is capable of making those dreams come true. And that is the point where her life changes from a story of hopelessness to one with hope, accomplishment and the will to not get bogged down by the weight of the doubts and fears of the society.

Read the report – Agra Convention 2014 – Report – HTML with Audio/Video

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