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.
Confined 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