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Students’ plea for humane behaviour towards disabled

Jorhat, May 6: Saari umrr hum, mar marke ji liye, ik pal toh abb humein, jine do, jine do…

Give me some sunshine, give me some rain, give me another chance I wanna grow up once again.

The song from 3 Idiots was transposed onto the stage along with a skit by students of the Bosco Institute, Bagchung here, who made a strong plea for humane behaviour towards the differently abled.

On a half completed stage at the Cinnamara ATCL garden complex, 15km from here, Bosco Institute today added its voice to that of World Vision, an NGO, to take up the cause of differently-abled children as part of Global Action Week for Education, which includes education for handicapped children.

Through the play, the students sent a powerful message — not to tease people as lengra (lame), boba, (deaf and dumb) or kona (blind) — as they deserve a life of dignity as well as education like others.

“All they ask for is acceptance, a right to life, a right to participate and a right to dignity. But do we accept them wholeheartedly as one of us or is there always a feeling of pity or a craving to make fun of their state?” asked the anchor in between the acts.

Another act stressed the need for amenities like ramps in public transport and other places and Braille books so that they could move about on their own.

However, there were few people in the audience to heed the plea, because of the remoteness of the place compounded by lack of public transportation.

The audience mostly comprised parents of the differently abled, caregivers and community leaders and workers of World Vision who had congregated from various parts of the district to strengthen and widen the movement as best as they could.

The Jorhat branch of World Vision, which has been working in remote pockets of the district to decrease dropout rates and help the differently abled by facilitating identity cards, wheelchairs and other amenities, as well as providing nutritious food to underweight and undernourished infants, will observe Global Action Week for Education till May 10.

Twenty-year-old Sonu Geeri of Vijaynagar Rowriah, an orphan who was born blind in one eye, said he had studied till Class VII and had recently joined World Vision as a volunteer. Along with him were cousin Sandhya Tanti and neighbour Rezina Begum, both blind from birth.

They were all obliged to World Vision for providing them with identity cards for the differently abled.

“Our parents were told to cough up Rs 4-5 lakh by doctors to get our sight corrected when we were small but this was not possible. We are happy for what World Vision has done for us,” he said.

World Vision has come out with a charter of demands that include barrier-free buildings in schools, including toilets for children with special needs, revision of curriculum suited to these children, increase vocational training opportunities and relaxation of norms to enable more children to access training and provision of laptops to those who have passed the matriculation examination.

It also pressed for provision of free sports equipment, increase in reservation from 3 to 15 per cent and creation of safe transport facilities.