Even in 20th century India, disability is seen as a fallout of bad karma. Blind and visually impaired people are perceived as a burden on family and community. As they struggle to grow and exist alongside sighted members of the society, they are often left at the mercy of others.
Eighteen-year-old Bhakt Prahlad was born blind in the Purnia district of Bihar. His family tried hard to restore his vision with different treatments, but the sight loss was irreversible. Coming from a poor economic background didn’t help either, as his options and access to opportunities was further limited. His mother was the only source of emotional support but she died early, leaving Prahlad to the neglect of his father and brothers.
Fortunately, a relative took pity on him, and offered some daily care. He also identified a school, where Prahlad managed to study till Class 8. One day, listening to audio recordings on a social community platform for the disabled, Hamari Vaani, he came across information regarding the Eyeway helpline. He contacted the Helpdesk counselor and shared his struggles in securing basic ration.
Eyeway counselor apprised Prahlad of the Antyodaya Anna Yojana, a government scheme that provides subsidized food grains to those in need. He was redirected to the panchayat authorities but found no support from the officials. Eyeway then got in touch with a local organization in his area who processed Prahlad’s documents to get him a card issued to avail the scheme. Through continuous coordination between the organization, authorities and Prahlad, our counselor successfully helped him in receiving 35 kg ration every month.
The counselor also advised Prahlad on options to pursue higher education through distance learning programmes, to secure an independent future for himself.
While government schemes offer a fair amount of support to the underprivileged communities, it’s also essential that information about these schemes and the process to avail them should be easily available and accessible to anyone who can benefit from them.