Looking at the current situation of visually challenged people (Blind People) we notice that even after so many years of independence, we have failed to integrate them in the mainstream society. More than 4 million Visually Challenged people live in urban areas. Rarely we do see them walking on the streets or participating in some meaningful social activities; excluding the students of specialised schools for the Blind. Do you often see visually challenged person in the schools, colleges, banks, post offices or have seen them using public facilities. What is the reason that these people are not seen despite living in urban centres? It looks like as if someone has cut them off from the mainstream. Even today they are looked upon with pity or even abhorrence.
Lack of access to information and resources is one of the reasons why a large section of visually challenged people are not deriving any benefits from government or non-government schemes and programmes. Despite their indefatigable efforts, the programmes for integrating them in the mainstream have not found much success. However, it is because of these efforts that of late some change has been observed in the overall situation.
So far, Visually Challenged People have been seen as a powerless category, fit only for pity and charity. But the fact is that the aspirations of visually challenged have not been properly understood either by the society or by the government. Society showered pity on them and government confined them to some kind of vocation only. But we at Antardrishti do not look at them as “powerless poor” or with the view point of negligence. Like other ailment, blindness is also a disease which should not be neglected, pitied or ashamed; rather we should instil feelings of equality and co-operation in them.
Antardrishti believes that the awareness level of the society about blinds and blindness must be raised. They can be brought into the mainstream of society only by providing them with equal opportunities, helping them acquire skills and by linking them in the production process. Along with, it is also necessary that the mainstream society should not only accept their presence but also treat them with dignity and equality.