No Money for Food, Rent’: How COVID Upset a Blind Couple’s Life

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No money for food, rent’: How COVID upset a blind couple’s life.

BRIEF

At a time when touching comes with a major health risk, how do the blind find their way around?

The more I thought about this question, the more I realised how crippling the impact of the pandemic was for the disadvantaged and challenged. And that led me to the story of Dharman and Uganthai. I travelled from Chennai to Chengalpattu, a COVID-19 hotspot, wearing a mask, face shield, gloves, so that their story would not go unheard.

Dharman was standing at the side of a narrow road, wearing a warm smile, and waving in the air when I first met him in Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu, where he lives with his wife, Uganthai, and his two-year-old son, Rohit.

World News Day 2020Confined to their homes in the wake of the pandemic, Dharman and Uganthai, a visually impaired couple who relied on trains as vendors, have been robbed off their income, but not their fighting spirit. They were struggling for every meal but I was inspired by their courage and determination in the face of adversity.  And, they showered me with love and kindness and shared their story.

What was overwhelming is the love and support that has been coming their way since the article was published. We have received hundreds of mails and messages extending financial help and the couple have received over 5 lakhs already. Today, they are confident of moving to a home that doesn’t leak and ensure their child gets the best education.

Every day when I call the couple to check on them, all they ask is, ‘Saptiya? Romba work panriya?’ (Did you eat? Or you just working all the time?)

Here is the link to the impact of the story we worked on: https://www.thequint.com/videos/the-quint-raises-over-4-lakhs-for-chengalpattu-blind-couple-visually-impaired

 

Indian Printer and Publisher is one of the publications supporting World News Day and we will be publishing shared stories from around the world with an emphasis on stories from the Indian newsrooms such as The Hindu Business Line, The Quint, and The Indian Express that have made their stories available, as well as a couple of our own stories.

Our own stories concerning the education, publishing and print industries that we are putting forward to share in the celebration of World News Day are:
Indian government Stop Print! by Shardul Sharma 
Indian media fatalities to virus exceed those to violence by Nava Thakuria Indian print media to lose Rs 18,000 crore in FY 20-21 by Naresh Khanna The end of the great international trade shows? by Ron Augustin

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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