Visually Challenged Women

A day in the life of a single woman in the city has its own challenges. She needs a safe place to live, a decent community that she can trust, access to public transport and utilities including groceries and more importantly a workplace that is not very far off to earn a decent salary.

However all wishes don’t come true and one often needs to make compromises. While women cope up with it, they often tend to fall back on their parents, friends and mentors to guide them in various aspects – be it education, career, marriage, etc.

Let’s add some challenge to the scenario. Let’s say, the women who have chosen to live in the city come from an economically backward family – typically children of farmers, daily labourers, etc. Such women would find the city hostile in many aspects.  Life is fast in the city. Workplace is far from home. Competition for a job is intense. Making ends meet and supporting aged parents in the villages or rural fringes of the city is a daily ordeal. Can a single woman cope with these challenges? Of course she can. That is the spirit of modern India and modern Indian women.

Adding to the economic challenge, we’ll do a bit of “what-if” scenarios – If the single woman is not well educated or is a school dropout who has to fend for herself and support her dependents, what does she do. What support does she need from all stakeholders – government, neighbours, colleagues, society at large. Who is responsible to offer protection to such women who can easily fall prey to anti-social elements? Who guides her to the right educational institute, who mentors her into a career oriented course, who cares to find her a job? While the government is doing everything it can, as responsible citizens of this city, we need to do our bit to ensure that such women feel safe and secure in our neighbourhood. They need to be treated as equals in education, at workplace, in renting a house and in every walk of life. They should not be socially ostracized and be treated as any other “normal” person in the community.

Now let’s think of a hypothesis – there is no sun or moon in the universe and the world is dark. Would the single woman we are talking about feel comfortable? Will she have the freedom to go around her daily chores with the same level of efficiency? Will she get a nervous breakdown because everything around her is dark? May be she will have suicidal symptoms. How can she think of her dependents, when she is not sure what would happen to her. Unfortunately, we have several people for whom the world is dark. They cannot differentiate between day and night. This is the plight of the visually challenged. The challenge factor for such persons increases exponentially for women as they are easier targets for everything wrong.

In Tamilnadu, visually challenged women are many in number.  Till their higher secondary, they study in educational institutes such as The School for Blind, a Government institute which also provides them free accommodation.

For College going students, there is no one to provide proper guidance for their career development.  Many visually challenged women choose Chennai for their college education as compared to other cities, Chennai offers better infrastructure. There are several retired professionals, government officials and other professionals that help the visually challenged women and offer help through book reading, recording, assignment writing and also serve as their exam scribe.  In many ways therefore a city like Chennai is very resourceful for visually challenged women.

Organizations such as Gnanadharshan Seva Foundation have dedicated their services for such visually challenged women by offering career enhancing courses, instilling confidence and help them realize that life can be fun in spite of their impairment. They can get a decent job, earn a good pay and one day get married and have a happy married life.

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