Updated: Dec 26, 2018
Snehankit Helpline Volunteers Day Celebrations
This year, on the occasion of International Volunteers Day, Snehankit Helpline decided to host an event with a difference. We often observe that while interacting with visually challenged persons that there are a lot of myths and apprehensions. In order to address these apprehensions and de-mystify challenges associated with blindness, Snehankit Helpline held a sensitisation workshop for its volunteers and the general public in association with Xavier’s Resource Centre for Visually Challenged (XRCVC) on 8th December 2018. The event was sponsored by Blossom Charitable Trust and conducted at Utkarsh Mandal Hall.
Mr. Jatin Shah & Prof. Krishna Warrier conducted the high energy ANTARCHAKSHU workshop on behalf of XRCVC.
The workshop started with an introduction to XRCVC and their achievements. All the participants were asked to write down 3-4 activities that they thought were difficult for a blind person to do. The sheets of paper were handed over to the facilitators. It seems Jatin and Prof. Krishna were not satisfied with the orderly and formal way in which the participants were seated. They decided they need to shake things up a bit!
The sensitisation workshop kicked into high gear when blindfolds were handed to each participant. Once the blindfolds were placed on the eyes of the participants, each of us experienced what a blind person goes through in life. After thinking of backstories of how we might have gone blind, we were asked to move around the room, form groups of 6 persons and find chairs to sit in a circle. Not one person was left without a group! We somehow found the courage to move around and find others to befriend. We even successfully completed a group task of identifying objects given to us by using only touch and individual tasks of drinking from a tetra pack and even going back to our original places. There was glorious pandemonium and also a great sense of accomplishment. We knew now that blind people can do pretty much anything a sighted person does, albeit in a slightly different way.
Jatin and Prof. Krishna commented on how not one of us gave in to despair that we might not be able to accomplish the tasks while blindfolded. We freely held hands with those we didn’t know without any judgement, treating the other person as just another human being.
The exhilarating blindfold session gave way to enthusiastic Q&A session with Jatin, who has bested his blindness to get an MBA degree from a top management institute and now works for a multinational consulting company. He gamely answered questions like “How do you watch movies?”, “How do you shop for clothes?”, “How does a blind person work on Microsoft Excel?”, “How does a blind person perceive beauty”, “Can a blind person have hobbies?” and many more. Snehankit Helpline Founder Ms. Parimala Bhatt jumped in to answer a question on “How does a blind person cook?”.
Prof. Krishna and Jatin demonstrated ways in which well-meaning people may actually hinder a blind person when they think they are helping them. They showed the group the ‘Dos & Don’ts’ of how to help a blind person in tasks such as crossing the road.
Questions kept flowing in an informal circle around Jatin & Prof. Krishna. The session was rounded off with a sumptuous feast of ukdiche modak, batate vada & upma.