Rickshaw School Leads Blind Students to the Light
I love a woman with spunk.
Tiffany Brar, a 25 year old visually impaired woman, is pushing new boundaries with Braille Without Borders. Using a rickshaw and some serious moxy, she’s bringing education to the blind in India.
Getting education as a woman is tough. Add a disability and we’re talking heroic levels of effort to get to school. Many parents in rural India simply do not have the time to guide their children to school, particularly girls.
The solution? Create a mobile, rickshaw based school named Jyothirgamaya – which translates to ‘from darkness to light’.
The school travels to students and teaches Braille, spoken English, basic math and computer skills, as well as life skills such as personal hygiene and grooming. Though perhaps, the most empowering lesson the school has to teach is how to use the white walking canes that the western world is familiar with.
Walking independently is not a skill that many Indian parents believe is possible for their child. Parents often see it as their loving duty to guide their children and actively discourage them from attempting to guide themselves. Brar admits that overcoming parental anxiety is one of her biggest challenges.
When Brar first met Bindu, a woman in her late twenties, she had never walked on her own. Her parents, out of concern for her safety, told her to not attempt walking alone.
“Bindu was so scared to use the cane,” says Brar in an article featured in The Guardian. “She kept saying: ‘I will never be able to walk. I will fall down.’”
But now, Brar happily reports that Bindu is currently learning how to dance.
I love the idea of a travelling school. Canadians have unique challenges related to how absurdly enormous our country is. I grew up in a tiny rural community and getting services was tough. This idea could be expanded to cover all kinds of needed, specialized, education resources in isolated rural and northern communities.
Any rural readers out there care to comment? What kind of services would you like to see visit your organization that you currently don’t have easy access to? Anybody familiar with services already using this strategy? Let me know in a comment!
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