Global Relief Initiative is undiscriminating when it comes to the nature of the cause it has the opportunity to help. Young or old, Individuals or organisations, Global Relief Initiative is set upon making a difference.
For this reason we are proud to announce our partnership with Saksham, a charitable trust established with the sole purpose of empowering the persons belonging to the marginalized section of the society. India has the misfortune of having the highest proportion of blind and low vision persons in its population, so since 2003 Saksham has been devoted to undertaking activities for empowerment of persons with such a disability, in order to provide them with the same opportunities of any young person in formal education.
With a number of ongoing projects dedicated to improving the learning abilities and progression of India’s young people, Saksham has been able to provide a variety of resources which would otherwise be unavailable. The introduction of the Saksham Danksh school has enabled the introduction of accessible reading materials, regular counselling and guidance for parents and teachers. Whilst some children with blindness can enrol in mainstream schools, there is a need for various support services in order for them to fulfil their potential, and it is the Danksh school that has made this possible. Experienced special educators, a new transportation, and speech and occupational therapists have made all the difference to many a child’s learning ability and is something that Global Relief Initiative is proud to be able to help.
Further, the introduction of distribution centres for aids and appliances has meant that users are able to choose and test such equipment before purchasing them. The need to choose the right kind of tools to suit the requirements of each individual is paramount and it is this dedication to each child which shows the importance of what Saksham does.
The importance of observation as an educational factor is something which can be overlooked. The ability to see pictures and objects is something that children with blindness or partial sighting have to learn to live without, Saksham introduced a form of informal education and a way of learning through fun. The opportunity to experience animals by touch for example gives the individual invaluable experience to make the most of other senses.
Today, despite many efforts disability has a close link with poverty meaning that consequently a very small percentage of blind children receive any form of formal education in India. For this reason, Saksham includes sponsorship for education as one of many of the ways it tries to help those who are partially sighted. The introduction of Braille books along with general reading and writing equipment has meant that many children are now able to participate in such activities.
While education and employment are taken for granted by many of us, it is on reflection impossible without the ability to read. Saksham’s devotion to this cause was partnered with the introduction of the talking book and talking magazines which provide a means for bringing the printed world to the visually impaired. Recording in digital access information systems (known as DAISY) provides children with a way of accessing information they would otherwise be exempt to.
Saksham’s final project is concerned with the Bookshare India Project and the Samarth Project; both being devoted to the need for equipment for reading and writing. Due to the ever growing cost of hardware and software, families are unable to provide such resources.