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Gifting Empowerment On Diwali For Last 75 Yrs: This Organisation Trains Visually-Impaired On Multiple Skills

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The problems faced by visually-impaired individuals are multifold. Ranging from lack of accessible facilities to getting an opportunity to upskill themselves, they require an inclusive environment to be fostered in order to become more self-reliant. With the same vision in mind, The Blind Relief Association situated in New Delhi has been helping such individuals lead their lives with confidence and dignity for the past 75 years.

With the festive season around the corner, the association has organised a ‘Blind School Diwali Mela’. Started in 1980, the Diwali Mela is held annually at the sprawling grounds near Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg in the premises of the association. The trainees and the staff members could be spotted working swiftly through various stalls where products made by the trainees are showcased. The earnings from this event are directed towards financing the association, which provides free training to the visually-impaired individuals.

“At the association, we aim to boost the confidence of the trainees by giving them training in various areas such as personality development, and spoken English. We also provide vocational courses such as computer training. Apart from training them, we attempt to provide them with resources such as reading the material in Braille and audiobooks on various topics. I feel that they can work as confidently as any other individual when given appropriate training, and it could be a life-changing session for them.” said Swapna Merlin, communication head.

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Apart from the Diwali Mela, the association runs a year-long programme for the visually-impaired who have not got any chance to receive a formal education. The association also attempts to provide them with placements and has a list of trainees who are able to transform their personal lives post attending the training sessions. The computer training has assisted many individuals in achieving their career goals.

Mohammed Shakib Khan, one of the trainees hailing from Ghaziabad, shared his story of from being shy to be being able to hold a mic and speak confidently. “I was very hesitant in public speaking before coming here. I never had the confidence to speak on mic publicly and never thought that I would be doing story-telling sessions. But post coming here, I have received spoken classes, and it helped me a lot. I have also learnt book-binding and stitching here. It makes me happy to learn new skills, and there’s still so much to learn,” he said.

 

Another trainee named Jyoti Prajapati said she regained her confidence after coming to the association. “After losing my eyesight, I never thought that I would be able to experience things as before. I was dependent on others, and I felt that I would never be completely on my own. But after coming here, I have gained back my lost confidence, and I don’t regret what happened in the past. The skills which I’ve gained here help me each day- be it commuting, expressing myself or reading new things. I have found good friends over here, and we stay together like a big family,” she said.

Under the aegis of the association, a senior secondary school is also run. The school is recognised by the Directorate of Education, NCT Delhi and CBSE. It provides free education, boarding, lodging, books and other services to boys from nursery till class 12th. At the same time, it encourages them to take part in diverse extracurricular activities. Their main objective is to impart essential skills to the students so that they could become a part of the mainstream. Also, their six-month relaxation-massage training, call-centre programme, and candle-making programme has helped many of them find employment and lead their lives independently.

The life-transforming stories of the visually-impaired individuals appeal to our mind and put in question the present-day state of accessibility for the blind population in our country.

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Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
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2,00,000 meals served

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

95,07,689 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

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Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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