About Rakesh Anand Bakshi

Film-script writer, director, actor, author, photographer, swimmer, walker and cyclist. Founder of Bicycle Angels, a non-profit social initiative that helps donate livelihood bicycles to the under privileged; My Memoirs – My stories for my family, creates a video or audio diary of your life story and inspiring moments, however young or old you may be; Beautiful Bicycles Beautiful People, a blog on cyclists, their rides, their stories. Love reading biographies, self help books and fiction novels; and watching different kinds of cinema and documentaries. And founder of Plant A Life - Plant Angels; and Water Angels - Water Taxi. https://www.facebook.com/rakesh.anand.bakshi https://www.linkedin.com/in/rakesh-anand-bakshi-0453b437?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile Author of Directors' Diaries - The Road To Their First Film, and how they make films. https://rakbak16.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/DirectorsDiaries Blog on cyclists, ‘Beautiful Bicycles Beautiful People.’ https://www.facebook.com/groups/313526712019526/ I have founded a not-for-profit social initiative, Bicycle Angels. To donate livelihood bicycles to those who need one to earn a livelihood. Bicycle Angels (Donate a livelihood bicycle). https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/ and; https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/ And a social initiative to thank Mother Earth for her Oxygen we consume Plant A Life - Plant Angels https://www.facebook.com/PlantAngels and Water Angels - Water Taxis to provide drinking water to the less privileged https://www.facebook.com/groups/982882808439289/ I have written, produced, directed and edited four short films: “Keemat” – We have a value in spite of our shortcomings; “Enough” – We are never too poor to share; “I’ll Be There For You” – Keeping Love Alive; and, “Seeking” - In search of true Beauty. “Seeking” was nominated in the International category of short films at MIFF 2004, the film festival held by the Films Division India, in Mumbai. 3 of these films I shot during my filmmaking workshop at New York Film Academy in London, 2002. My short films: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8B0134C79DDA00BB https://vimeo.com/user12236724/videos My short films can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8B0134C79DDA00BB and, https://vimeo.com/user12236724/videos My youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCipCdxuTdU5767rsi8x0F_A

Sr. No. 210 Outstanding humans. ‭Sangita Mandal.

210

Outstanding humans.

‭Sangita Mandal.

Sangita has shared her two houses in Kolkata to care for the abandoned elderly people and the homeless. She has dedicated both properties to house those who don’t have anyone to house them.

Friends Of Kolkata’s Elderly www.foke.in

Thank you Picto Writ for contributing to her social cause.

#BicycleAngels 🚴😇

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Respect. At Least Ten Times More.

Respect. At Least Ten Times More.

I visited an education institution last week for a talk about the non-profit work we attempt to achieve now and then (reference Bicycle Angels) with the help of some friends and acquaintances (I also spoke of the social services work done in rural Maharastra by a NGO based in Pune, #MukulMadhavFoundation I have been a small part of on a few ocassions) ….

When the session opened up for questions from students, the very first one I was asked was, “… so, with all this experience behind you of personally interacting with quite a many benefeciaries, and seeing other NGOs work, what have you learnt most about them, the beneficiaries of assistance?”

My reply, “The so called street people, destitutes, or lower middle class, or under privileaged beneficiaries we have reached out to, with the help of many people, has naturally taught me many lessons.
One which comes to mind instantly is that when we assisted these people, in our own tiny ways, most of them treated our assistance as ‘respect’, and not as charity; and their respect for us may have been at least ten times more than my respect for them.”

#BicycleAngels

209 “My happiest day in life will be on April 1st 2018, …..” – Aarti. Aarti (24) and Akshada (18) Visually impaired students.

pjimage (1)209

 

“My happiest day in life will be on April 1st 2018, …..” – Aarti.

 

Aarti (24) and Akshada (18)
Visually impaired students.

 

Aarti (partially blind since childhood) lives at Vakola and is studying Computer Literacy at Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Tardeo. She is a graduate from Ruia college. Her father passed away in 2013. Her younger brother is a graduate too and her mother is a homemaker. They are surviving on their father’s pension. She has two older sisters, both are married and one of them lives with Aarti and family at Vakola. Aarti has given banking exams and is awaiting the results, they will arrive in April.

 

When Aarti arrived at Victoria Memorial School to meet me, she was late by about 20-25 minutes. She was sweating profusely and looked anxious and troubled that she had made me, her benefactor, wait. Because the first words she said on meeting me was “‘sorry’, main late ho gayi. Aap ko intezaar karna padha.”

 

Even her classmate Akshada (19) (completely blind since childhood) who had arrived from Thane to meet me got late by about 25-30 mins and apologised immediately on meeting me.

 

I told them I enjoyed a hot-hot coffee in an AC room with four fans running at full speed in a 100 years old beautiful heritage structure school building and I even had their tutor Sonal chatting with me about life in general, so I did not mind their delay. Aarti laughed, she was now at ease and after that she was her normal self – cheerful. She maintained her cheerful frame of mind through our brief conversation.

 

Akshada (19) lives at Thane with her family. (I think, if I am not mistaken, even her younger brother is visually impaired.) She is 12th standard pass. Her father is currently not employed because of a medical condition. They are being supported financially by her grandmother.

 

Akshada was very nervous speaking to me, and for some reason I feel I failed to make her feel at ease during our conversation. Akshada’s family is being supported by her maternal grandmother’s pension.

 

I asked Aarti, what about our city would she like to improve, considering she has to negotiate her way in partial darkness since birth. She said, “The BMC should ensure there are no ditches, uneven surfaces on the footpaths. I once tripped and fell because my foot landed in a ditch. And she gave me pearls of smiles. No self-pity, no anger at anyone.

 

I asked Aarti, when has life been the hardest and most challenging for her. She replied, “Jab papa guzar gaye. When papa passed away. In 2013.”

 

Aarti seemed so goal-centred and content and cheerful through our conversation, I asked her, in her short life of 24 years when has she been the happiest? She said, “I will be happiest ever on April 1st. The Banking exams results will be announced on that day.” And then she gave me yet another pearl of smiles from her.

 

I believe Aarti will score the best marks of her life on April 1st. It will not be a fool’s day for her at least.

 

I was so glad that we got a chance to assist Aarti and Akshada for their computer literacy goals. Because when I asked Akshada, which has been her happiest day in life, she said “It was when I got good marks in the 11th standard.” For both these girls, students, scoring good marks is the epitome of happiness so far. Lots of love and success to both. Beti Padhao, yes.

 

Thank you dear Suman, Ritu, Priyanka, Amit/Priyanka, Laila, Akshita, Ankita, Niraj, Minnie, Brijesh, Sabira, Siddharth, me 😊 for assisting yet another visually impaired person receive a government (and corporate world) recognized certification in computer literacy.

 

(The government recognised MS-CIT ‘computer training’ course for visually impaired is conducted at The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Tardeo. (MS-CIT http://www.mkcl.org/msciti / http://mscit.mkcl.org/index.php/course-syllabus)

 

Photos:

Left-Aarti Right-Akshada

 

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶

 

#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:

FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/

WordPress https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1

 

#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

 

 

 

Sr No. 208 The Friendly Guide to Periods for Girls, Menstrupedia, the comic book.

 

Sr No. 208

 

The Friendly Guide to Periods for Girls, Menstrupedia, the comic book.

 

I happened to come across this comic book, Menstrupdia, thanks to a radio host friend Anita. She knew I am writing a book on inspiring women and sent me, and my co-author, Laila, an invite to a book launch in which I discovered this gem, a wonderfully fun and informative book created by Aditi Gupta http://menstrupedia.com/blog/

 

This, posted below, was our first rural workshop to educate girls about menstruation, with the help of a ‘comic’ book, Menstrupedia, through storytelling.

 

When we began to buy and distribute these comic books for schools in Mumbai, underprivileged schools, and reached out to people to help us reach such schools, it was Dhwani Doshi who was the first one to reach out to us. She volunteered to take these workshops to some schools within her reach. She has a nose for ‘education’ and on reading about the nature of this informative and myth bursting book she immediately saw the potential in educating girls not as fortunate as herself in knowing what girls and women need to be told/know about menstruation.

 

I had meant to reach out to urban schools in Mumbai, however, Dhwani took it far beyond my own limitations. Thanks to Dhwani, the book has opened up a path forward…not just for her but many girls and schools she reached out to. She briefed the teachers and the girls on how to hold the interactive session with their students with the aid of this book in print and digital form. After which they will list down the gynecological issues the girls face.

 

The English copy of the book handed over by Dhwani to Ms. Reyna Rupani of The School Of Life, a NGO in Juhu Versova Link Road. And through the Rotary Club of Mumbai Coastline Dhwani reached out to a school at Raigad, rural Maharashtra. The photos below are from the Zilla Parishad School at Raigad. Thank you Dhwani.

This was also possible because of the books being donated by Picto Writ. Thank you very much, Picto.

 

And thank you to Priyanka and Advait too, donors of these books that we have distributed to a school and NGO in Pune, run ny Mukul Madhav Foundation, http://www.mmpc.in/

who has gone on to purchase 50-60 copies to distribute to 50-60 rural schools that they cater to in Maharashtra, the initiative being led by Rita Chhabria. Rita has taken a GIANT step forward in this initiative and has told her medical team and professional educators to include boys during these workshops, because it’s not just a ‘men’s’ issue. The first person I know who has thought of including boys in these workshops. Great! Women have always been an integral part of our souls, and boys must be sensitized to this subject at an early age, it will make us men more sensitive beings, I too believe. We will share the feedback we receive from Mukul Madhav’s rural workshops with you in a few weeks, so that we all can get more sensitized to an ‘issue’ that should concern us MEN too.

 

Some people may think, that giving their money for any worthy cause is charity. So is the giving of your time. Money has a immense value, however, time is invaluable. Thanks to people like Dhwani who offer/volunteer their emotions and time to any worthy cause.

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶

 

#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:

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Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1
#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

 

Sr No 207; A little joy goes a long way.

 

Sr no 207
 
“A little joy goes a long way.”
 
Sai (9) has Cerebral Palsy; he is studying in the 3rd standard at ADAPT school, Bandra. He lives at Mahim with his parents.
 
Sai has a speech impairment, but, the people who live with him, and his teachers, can understand every word he speaks. His legs are too weak to carry him ably, so he crawls to get around. He receives regular physiotherapy at ADAPT school to strengthen his limbs.
 
As Sai is growing older and a little bigger, a little heavier, it is becoming difficult to carry him around. His parents reached out for assistance in buying a wheelchair for him. His mother is a graduate and was once a working woman, however, because Sai needed full-time care, she left her job and is a homemaker and full-time caregiver. She is amongst the many strongest women I’ve met.
 
Sai is just like us. If you snatch the TV remote from his hands, he gets very upset. And when he is happy, he crawls all over the house in excitement! A little joy goes a long way. His favorite sweet is KINDER JOY Chocolate Candy.
 
Sai is just like us. He has a dream. He wants to work in an office with a laptop. However, for Sai’s parents, their ambition, dream and goal for Sai is – TO MAKE HIM WALK ON HIS OWN LEGS!, without any instrument or human support.
 
At the moment, his siblings are big supports too, they pitch in to take care of him and to play with him. His biggest asset is, his paternal grandmother.
 
I asked Sai’s mother about some of the challenges parents and family of a differently abled child face… so that we ‘abled’ people may learn from those not as fortunate as us…… she said ….. “…. we have so much support from my husband’s parents, to bring up this child, that I have realised emotional and spiritual strength from our family and friends, and our own emotional strength, is far more important than our financial strength.
Thank you for helping us buy this wheelchair, however, I will make it redundant one day, because, it is my ambition, our family’s collective ambition, that I will make Sai walk on his own two feet someday, one day! For sure!”
 
Yes, we can manage with a little less money but we all need a lot of love. Lots.
I know of a relatve who needs such care, it made me realise the importance of family and friends who you feel you will need someday to pitch in, with just their emotional support. When you feel pulled down, beieve me – even a phone call to hear your friend or relative makes you feel you will see this through.
It also makes you realise there are only a handful of people you can really count on, call randomly just to hear their voice, and that makes you stronger emotionally and more independent. It also makes you more astute in choosing who you choose to spend most of your time and emotions on.
 
Such support from family and a few friends is also a kind of ‘immense-wealth’ we need to nurture, and we could achieve that if we will be there for some others before expecting them to be there for us. It’s often about giving before receiving.
 
Thank you Picto Writ and NS for buying this wheel chair for Sai. His parents contributed nearly one third towards it. Thank you Health Care Equipments, Vile Parle, for giving them a good discount and service on their purchase of this wheelchair.
 
And we bought him Kinder Joy too,because a little joy goes a very long way.
 
#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶
 
#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:
 
#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

Sr No. 206; “…. then she broke into the most magnificent and bright pearls of laughter, which reflected the little girl in her.”

 

Sr. No. 206

Geeta (30) (Visually impaired, aka blind)

Geeta lives at Wadala with her family. She is the youngest child, and her siblings are married except her. Her father was a watchman, but due to ill health he is unable to work now. Her mother works as a healthcare caretaker and the sole breadwinner.

 

Geeta is still dependent on her mother for her education and living expenses, and she has never asked her sister and two brothers for financial support. She is fiercely independent and proud to be the most educated person in her family!

 

Geeta is a graduate of sociology and is currently studying for her MA, through correspondence from an institution in Nasik.  I asked her, ‘why did she choose to study sociology, and what does she like about the subject of her choice?’

 

Geeta replied, “I like sociology, as it helps me understand society better. You know, everyone is dealing with some problem, so, I should not live life thinking ‘Oh my problem/s is a ‘problem’ and the only person in the world who has problems is me….’ We must try and alleviate society’s problems too, and not just think or worry about our own. After all, society means ‘collective living’.”

 

Geeta’s mission/ambition: “I want to be a Professor.”

She lectures as a temporary teacher at a college in Mumbai when their regular teachers go on leave, and she has been teaching on and off since two years.

 

I asked Geeta, “If you get sight right now, medically or magically, what would  you love to see first and right away!?”

She replied, “The stars in a night sky.”

…. And then Geeta broke into the most magnificent and bright pearls of laughter, which reflected the little girl in her with very big and beautiful dreams. I was so gal that we chose to assist her in our tiny way for her computer literacy education.

 

When I asked her for her permission to take her photo and share it, she said, happily, “… yes, but wait, let me put on my cool sun shades!”

 

Thank you dear Akshita, Ankita, Priyanka, Suman, Ritu, Amit/Priyanka, Niraj, Minnie, Brijesh, Sabira, Laila, Siddharth, me 😊 for assisting yet another visually impaired person receive a government (and corporate world) recognized certification in computer literacy.

 

(The government recognised MS-CIT ‘computer training’ course for visually impaired is conducted at The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Tardeo. (www.mkcl.org/msciti / http://mscit.mkcl.org/index.php/course-syllabus)

 

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶

 

#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:

FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/

WordPress https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1
#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

Sr 205; When the cane is your Best Friend.

Sachin jan 18 2018

 

Sr No 205

 

Sachin (Visually impaired, aka blind)

 

Sachin lives in Dharavi, Mumbai, and is currently doing a government certified MS CIT course in Computer Literacy. When Sachin was a child, he had partial sight, but an eye operation to rectify an alleged retina flaw went perhaps wrong and he lost sight since then.

 

Sachin lost his father many years ago in a car accident; and his brother too last year, also in a car accident. His brother was the only earning member in the family. He lives with his mother and sister and both are earning members of his family. His sister works too, in a factory in Dharavi that sells processed sea food.

 

Sachin’s best friend is his white cane. He navigates the world with her.

 

I asked him, “What if your white walking cane get’s lost? Or wants to get lost…. Leave you….? What will you do?”

Sachin replied, “Even if my cane wants to get lost or leave me, I will not let go of her. She is always with me.”

 

Best friend. It reminded me of my dad’s advise to me, “BEFORE YOU CAN BE A BEST FRIEND TO ANYONE, FIRST BE ONE TO YOURSELF, DON’T LET YOURSELF DOWN, ONLY THEN CAN SOMEONE SEE IN YOU THEIR BEST FRIEND.” and he would make us hear the song very often, particularly on Sundays and holiday trips travelling in our car, to reinforce his belief: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PPL8Tgt4jM

 

Would you take better care of yourself
Would you be kinder to yourself
Would you be more forgiving of your human imperfections
If you realized your best friend was yourself.

 

Who is always with you everywhere
Who is on your side when others are unfair
And tell me, who will never let you down in any situation
Who will always see you get your share.

 

And that’s why I am a best friend to myself
And I take me out whenever I feel low
And I make my life as happy as a best friend would
I’m as nice to me as anyone I know.

 

And that’s why I am a best friend to myself
And I take me out whenever I feel low
And I make my life as happy as a best friend would
I’m as nice to me as anyone I know.

 

I asked Sachin what is his ambition, or career goal, and he said, “I want to do a course of a masseur”

 

I have friends who told me that the best body massages they have received have been given to them by the visually impaired. There is one centre in Mumbai that employs visually impaired masseurs (https://www.thebetterindia.com/31909/discriminated-unemployed-visually-impaired-masseurs-mumbai-joanita-metta-spa/ ) because their sense of touch is far more sensitive and tender and firm than many sighted people. Because they navigate their world with their ears, hands and fingers.

 

Thank you dear Akshita, Ankita, Priyanka, Suman, Ritu, Amit/Priyanka, Niraj, Minnie, Brijesh, Sabira, Laila, Siddharth, me 😊 for assisting yet another visually impaired person receive a government (and corporate world) recognized certification in computer literacy.

(We may even assist Sachin in completing the masseur course, I will let you know if we do that.)

 

We believe, that by helping the differently abled, however tiny be our ways of assistance, we will understand better not just their needs but also help us understand abled humans, social life and our world in which digital technology is going to play a bigger and bigger role. And so, our role in the lives of the differently abled should increase correspondingly.

 

(The government recognised MS-CIT ‘computer training’ course for visually impaired is conducted at The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Tardeo: http://www.mkcl.org/msciti)

 

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶

 

#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:

FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/

WordPress https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/

Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1
#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

Sr No. 204 The courier boy who shoulders responsibility.

santosh tawde

Sr No 204

Santosh (Courier of mail)

Santosh lives with his widowed mother in Nerul. After his father passed away, when he as in junior college, he had to stop his education after the 12th standard and begin working to support his family.

He is from Rajapur/Ratnagiri and arrived in Mumbai in 2008 for better livelihood prospects.

After his father passed away, Santosh took up this job with a courier company based in Mumbai, and has been working with them since then, nearly 9 years. From his salary he provides for his mother and has paid for his own graduation and his own house at Nerul.
He completed his graduation by correspondence course from Mumbai University while he was doing the courier job. He plans to study further. Hearing him speak, I thought about my own formal education background.

I had a wealthy father and many luxuries and yet I did not complete my graduation. I am a second year Computer Engineering (Mumbai University) drop out. However, it was because, in hindsight I realised, I chose to study a subject not meant for me. I chose to study engineering influenced by my peers and immediate group of friends who had chosen to study medicine and engineering.

(Before that, I had wanted to join the Indian Air Force, and I did apply, but I was one year over age when I did so I could not join the National Defence Academy. It was after that set back, that I got confused about my career choice, and chose a subject not suited to me.) I do wish I was as clear as Santosh, and had chosen to graduate in the arts, filmmaking.

However, no regrets, because every single good and erroneous decision has brought me to a fine stage in my life where I feel a sense of fulfilment often and happy sometimes, along with feeling fear, disappointments, failures, now and then.

Returning to Santosh, after his father passed away he paid off some debts of their family. Now he has to pay back the loan he has taken for his own house at Nerul. He has planned to get married after he clears his house-loan in about two to three years. Santosh is a man who shoulders responsibility well.

Having his own bicycle will assist him travel longer distances in a shorter time and carry large boxes.

I asked him what he thinks about Mumbai, being an ‘outsider’ here once upon a time. He said, “Mumbai is a place of good opportunities. A person who is willing to work hard in this city will certainly find a good livelihood.”

Thank you Vishal Chhabra and Meghna Mirgnani for assisting Santosh in buying a bicycle. Santosh contributed one third it’s cost.

Thank you Siddharth Vora (https://www.facebook.com/siddharth.vora.58?fref=ts) of Kohinoor Cycles (http://kohinoorcyclestores.blogspot.com/) for the good service & discount.

#RakeshAnandBakshi 🎶
https://twitter.com/RakBak16

#BicycleAngels 🚴 😇:
FB https://www.facebook.com/groups/309043432570135/
WordPress https://bicycleangels.wordpress.com/
Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/…

#BeautifulBicyclesBeautifulPeople

Vishal Chhabra Meghna Mirgnani

Sr. No. 203 – I made a mistake when I met Mohammad. Will tell you about it. Read on….

Mohammad Iqbal Khan Jan 1 2017
Sr. no. 203
 
Iqbal Mohamad Khan (Visually impaired, aka blind; Jobless)
 
I made a mistake when I met Mohammad. Will tell you about it. Read on….
 
Seven years ago, he lost his eyesight within a few weeks when he suffered from Cerebral atrophy / It is a common feature of many of the diseases that affect the brain. It can happen to anyone. Anyone.
 
Mohammad was working as a Videographer (Cameraman) with Bloomberg channel then. After he lost eyesight in both eyes within a few months seven years ago, Bloomberg paid for his medical rehabilitation and healthcare. His wife abandoned him soon after, and re-married someone else. His own family looked after him thereafter, but after a few years they too told him he must now manage on his own as they have their own family to support financially.
 
He was of the opinion that he should not and cannot blame them for abandoning, not supporting him forever, or for longer, after all it is really challenging or impossible for most people to look after someone for so long and or forever. He needs to find a job as soon as possible, before he loses hope completely.
 
Jobless, homeless and penniless, Mohammad has been provided temporary shelter by some religious institution, or religious person, I am not really sure, but I know a stranger he approached for help has allowed him to live with him or their religious institution.
 
Mohammad Iqbal is doing this computer literacy course because he believes it can help him navigate the largely digital world that we have become, and thus help him secure his first job after his world went completely dark seven years ago. Now that he cannot operate the camera anymore, and is nearly 45 years old and jobless, he needs to update at least his digital skills and that may help him land a job that can return to him at least his financial independence.
 
Thank you Akshita, Ankita, Priyanka, Ishani, Suman, Ritu, Amit, Niraj, Minnie, Ameya, Manjari, Brijesh (and myself) for assisting yet another visually impaired person receive a government and corporate world recognized certification in computer literacy.
 
I made a mistake when I met Mohammad. After we finished our conversation, as I was leaving the institute’s library I was lost in my own fears – “… what if someday I lose my eye sight and all those who I love and know abandon me…”
 
I did not see that Mohammad had put his arm out to shake my hand. It was the computer lab professional Sonal who told me politely “Sir, he wishes to shake your hand and say thank you.” I felt I was the blind one here, insensitive to not having seeing our beneficiary’s gratitude. I was walking away without giving him the opportunity to acknowledge his gratitude beyond a verbal thanks. It is a lesson to me that I must wait to shake the hand of every single person we assist hereafter. Akshita, Ankita, Priyanka, Ishani, Suman, Ritu, Amit, Niraj, Minnie, Ameya, Manjari, Brijesh, I shook his hand warmly on all your behalf. When I had met him a few minutes ago, his hand had felt cold. Maybe because it was January 1st, a cold winter afternoon. But now it felt warm.
 
Ankita. I learnt a lesson when I met him, something that I noticed you did when you had met visually impaired Devaka, you had reached out and held her hand before we left. It’s so important that we acknowledge their acknowledgement of us.
 
I posted a black and white photo of our beneficiary, because that’s how it must be for some visually impaied people, without color.
 
(Brief history of our tiny endeavor:
 
My 12 friends and I decided to assist two visually impaired adults achieve ‘computers and online-world literacy’ by paying their course fees for the same every quarter. We hope to assist two more students when their next batch begins after three months, and do this for one year from Nov 2107 to Oct 2018.
 
We believe, that by helping the differently abled, however tiny be our ways of assistance, we will understand better not just their needs but also help us understand abled humans, social life and our world in which digital technology is going to play a bigger and bigger role. And so, our role in the lives of the differently abled should increase correspondingly.
 
We are simply hoping the tiny assistance we are providing them will help the visually impaired secure better livelihood opportunities, including more secure jobs with the government that offers provident fund, pension etc. Also, it will give them the sense of ‘…. someone cares for us.’- that by itself is a big motivator.
 
The government recognised MS-CIT ‘computer training’ course for visually impaired is conducted at The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Tardeo: http://www.mkcl.org/msciti
 
Thanks to my acquaintance in the UK, Herminder Kaur, we found out that unequal access to information technology (computers and the internet) and the online world brings about unequal participation of the differently abled and the visually impaired. A computer literacy certification program, particularly one recognized by the government of India, can certainly help the less privileged in our country, especially the visually impaired (blind), have some more power over their perceived shortcomings, circumstances, disabilities.
 
They only needed help to live in their immediate surroundings. Now, the differently abled need our assistance to even access even the online-world. So, the need for more equal access to the internet, the world online, is becoming more and more important for differently abled people who are already facing challenges of social exclusion and the issue is being treated as ‘a civil rights issue’ in the developed and developing world.
 
Adds Herminder Kaur, “In the West, as more and more services move online, there is a need to recognise how people with disabilities are unable to access or use these services and therefore how this results in double exclusion – offline and online. By recognising the issue as a right – we can appreciate that it is essential for service and technology providers and regulators to do more to ensure every citizen is an equal participant/user of the medium.”)
 
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