1 year ago
Trust the Inner Light
“Blind people can walk and read without light. We need not close our eyes to meditate or concentrate,” said Sarita Lamichhane. Sarita was born in Barpak, Gorkha. As a child she was taken to hospital for her sight treatment. Some recommended glasses when she was as young as eight month. A doctor even told her parents that she would get her sight back her if she ate eggs. Sadly this never happened. At the age of six, Lamichhane started learning Braille and joined a community school. However, she didn’t learn the Braille at school. Since her father was a teacher, he taught her using the script.
“ I was not totally motivated by my teachers. One of the teachers used to come and just write on the board I had sought my friends’ help. They thought I was blind and neglected my capabilities but I graduated my 10th grade in first division, “said Sarita. After that Sarita came to Kathmandu and studied Education. When she passed 11th grade, one of teachers thought rightful to credit the helper-writer, and not Lamichhane for the achievement. “I know my capabilities. If teachers were that capable to check my answer in Braille, then I could have taken my exam in Braille but I had to get a helper to write me the answers,” added Sarita.
Sarita even passed the Public Service commission (Lok Sewa) exam but did not start her service at Primary school. Despite this, she wanted to do more. She then was selected in Kanthari leadership program for social change maker. It was a seven months’ program. After completion, she felt she could contribute more to the society and hence formed Prayatna in 2072 BS with a mission to empower visually impaired women in daily living, employable and self defense skills.
“People get curious and frequently ask us questions whether we know how our parents look. Or if we could eat by ourselves. I do most of my daily works on my own. It becomes a bit difficult going shopping or visiting a new place. Sometimes we end up dashing to poles despite following the tiles on pathways. And yes, the potholes are a major obstacle. At time we end up banging against street vendors as they tend to spread thier goods on tactile paving, and there are no definite bus stops designated. Such things create obstacle.
I still remember when I was on the way to the college at Tahachal I was about to ask a person to guide me to a bus stop, but she handed me money… There are people who are begging on the streets despite perfect vision. Disability should not be objectified. It is beyond that,” says Sarita. She believes that if schools and colleges provide proper knowledge and motivation program about disability, then people’s perception will also surely change.