Since April, the National Association of Blind has been endeavoring hard to pay off the associate and staff members. The Association is mainly dependent upon external donations and sponsorship, as it aims to provide free education to 300 visually impaired students.
With individual subsidies and corporate contributions drying up amid the COVID 19 pandemic and the lockdown, an institution that has supported the education of visually impaired children in Delhi for decades is on its last arms.
Since April, the National Association of Blind has been battling to pay its 100-odd staff members. Since the education support, it furnishes to over 300 disabled children is free of cost, it is dependent on external backing. However, the pandemic and lockdown have dealt a heavy hit to the charitable organization.
We strive to cover most of our expenditures, around 60-70%, with a corporate contribution that comes in the form of CSR accounts. But with the COVID problem, we have seen this entirely vanished, including with corporates who had active MoUs with us. Around seven corporates turned us away saying that their CSR allowances are now going towards COVID. People are obviously hard hit. In any case, their donations would be occasional — along the lines of financing a meal. In a human resource centered effort such as this, we find ourselves incapable to support our staff as we should, said Nandita Saran, project coordinator at the association.
Generally, the center is a meeting point for a variation in learning training. Around 50 young kids were being prepared for mainstream school through Braille and computer activities; it was an after-school tuition support center for around 150 children in mainstream schools such as DPS RK Puram and Tagore International School, many of whom also stayed in a hostel at the center; around 40 children and grown-ups were being taught to use computers; and for around 80 visually impaired children with multiple disabilities, the center was a daily school with therapy and special education. For these children, virtual learning has not been a part of their lockdown life.
The crisis has really hit the disability sector very hard, especially for the visually impaired. Everything is about sense, so how do we work with social distancing? Mainstream schools are now performing hours of online lessons every day but that’s not logical for us. The children in the hostel were sent back to their towns — in Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab. There will be a time when kids will be back to school, we hope we’ll be able to keep standing till then, said Saran.