From darkness, an initiation into the 'light' of knowledge - The New Indian Express

From darkness, an initiation into the 'light' of knowledge

Published: 25th October 2012 10:49 AM

Last Updated: 25th October 2012 10:49 AM

Tears welled up in Revathi’s eyes as soon as she was made to sit before a lit lamp and write on the braille board. The nine year-old was learning the art of ‘writing’ for the first time in her life. She was handed over a plate having braille alphabets on it and her tiny fingers softly touched the raised dots.

But making her write in braille turned a herculean task as she was not ready to stop screaming. Prof V K Damodaran, who was guiding her, somehow managed to direct Revathi’s index finger to write ‘Harisree ganapathaye namah’  at the ‘braille vidyarambham’ organised at Regional Institute of Ophthalmology in the city on Wednesday.

Revathi Krishna has been fighting visual impairment right from her birth and was not exposed to formal schooling till now. The failure of her eyes to send messages to the brain was the medical reason stated for her condition. Besides, she also faces a slight difficulty with speech, and all she utters is a set of broken words.

“We treated her several times. As directed by the doctors, a contact lens was put on her left eye. But it did not bring any change,” said her mother P Rathika Kumari.

Whereas, Shifna Mariam from Pothencode, who was slightly confused at the beginning, easily came to terms with the situation when Sabriye Tenberken of ‘Braille Without Borders’ taught her to mark the alphabets a, aa, e, ee on the board. Even when the ceremony was over, she was seen holding the board tightly, refusing to leave it behind.

Following that, she was also initiated to write on a ‘braille display’ by Tamas Barko. Shifna is a student at the mobile blind school, Jyothirgamaya, run by Tiffany Maria Brar.

“From next year onwards, we are planning to organise ‘braille vidyarambham’ in other districts also,” said Ram Kamal,  managing trustee of Chakshumathi Charitable Trust.

The braille vidyarambham was a joint venture of  Chakshumathi Charitable Trust, Regional Institute of Ophthalmology and Jyothirgamaya mobile blind school.

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