Taking stock: Demands made for students with visual impairment

Govt Institute for the Blind principal says no printing press for braille.


Our Correspondent May 22, 2015
PFFB Chairman Abdullah Yousaf said education is the basic right of every citizen. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: Students and teachers from various schools for children suffering from visual impairment across the province pressed the government to provide basic facilities.

This was said during a training workshop held at Government Institute for the Blind in Nishtarabad in the provincial capital. The event was organised by Pakistan Foundation Fighting Blindness (PFFB) in collaboration with Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa social welfare department.

Speaking on the occasion, PFFB Chairman Abdullah Yousaf said education is the basic right of every citizen. “We should not deprive people with visual impairments from getting an education,” he said. “They should not be treated any differently.”

No braille books

Muhammad Younis Afridi, the school’s principal, said there are at least 70 boys and girls studying at the institute.

“The school was set up in 1962,” he said. “Although students have been provided accommodation and food, we are finding it difficult to obtain books; there is no printing press for Braille books in the province.”

Afridi said Chief Minister Pervez Khattak had also visited the school and vowed to resolve problems faced by students.

Checks and balances

Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Association for Blind K-P President Qari Saad Noor criticised the provincial government for not maintaining checks and balances.

“A series of agreements have been signed in the past to prioritise the challenges faced by people with visual impairments,” he said. “Unfortunately, these agreements have only benefitted those who are not eligible for them. I have apprised Special Adviser to CM on Social Welfare Meher Taj Roghani about my concerns.”

Certificates and prizes were distributed among students at the end of the workshop.

Aiming for the stars

At least 100 students and teachers from across the province attended the training.

Director of Blind Cricket Council Habibullah, who attended the seminar, told The Express Tribune about his inspiring struggle to not allow his impairment hamper his efforts to make a difference in the world.

“I lost my sight when I was four,” he said. “My father took me to several doctors but little could be done about my condition. However, I managed to overcome all odds and get a master’s degree.” Muhammad Riaz, a student from Swabi who attended the workshop, said his impairment has never impeded his desire for success.

“After completing my intermediate education, I will continue studying until I get a master’s degree in English and become a lecturer,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2015.

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