Blind World Magazine

India.
Unique vision: A home for blind girls.




NDTV New Delhi, India.
Monday, April 03, 2006.




(Surendranagar): Pragna Chakshu Mahila Sevakunj started as a small project to help visually impaired girls become self sufficient, but today it is a home for 125 such girls.


The organisation is headed by a blind couple with a different kind of vision. Their effort has helped girls to learn a variety of skills, from computers to electrical repair work.


Life's work


For Muktaben Dagli and her husband Pankajbhai, this is their life's work. Ten years ago, this blind couple decided to improve the lot of blind girls.


They started with four girls in one room. Now they take care of 125 girls in nine tenements in Surendranagar in Saurashtra.


"When I was small and studied in a blind school I came across a number of girls who couldn't pursue their dreams due to poverty. I had decided that very time that I will do something for such blind girls," said Muktaben Dagli, secretary, Pragna Chakshu Mahila Sevakunj.


The Daglis convinced their families to rent out some of their ancestral property and set up the Pragna Chakshu Mahila Sevakunj in 1995.


At first, basic skills like stitching were taught. Today there are full-fledged courses on computers, beauty, cooking and electrical repair work. Some courses are even recognised by the ITI, Gandhinagar.


Learning skills


Akaknsha Ghadadia came from Rajkot three years ago. Now she is in the second year of college studying commerce. She is also learning computer skills.


"When I came here there years back, I was really feeling helpless but today I feel more confident," said Akanksha.


The centre also teaches girls to cope with housework and finds suitable matches for them. So far the Daglis have got 40 girls married off.


Shantiben is one such student. In June, she's marrying a blind teacher.


"When I came here I did not know how to handle the basic household work, but now am sure I will be able to handle them in a better manner at my in-laws' place," said Shantiben.


Impressed by the Daglis' spirit donors in Mumbai paid for a hostel on the outskirts of Surendranagar.


The new hostel will mean better living conditions and a better future for more blind girls.



http://www.ndtv.com/features/showfeatures.asp?slug=A+home+for+blind+girls&Id=1254




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