A new career option for the blind


It is a Boon: Massage training centre. DH Photo

In fact, she understood that her new found skill has helped turn her visual challenge, a perceived weakness, into her strength and make her a potential breadwinner for her family. 

This 23-year-old is one of the six visually challenged persons undergoing training in reflexology at National Association for the Blind, Karnataka (NAB-K) presently.  This is due to the opening of a `Rightfoot Reflexology Centre’ here to provide training and equip the visually impaired for a new career.

"Reflexology is a natural art and is a form of drugless healing," said Srikarunya, in-charge of the project and the Joint Secretary of NABK. "By massaging the feet and ankle, especially the vital pressure points, a person can be cured of chronic problems like arthritis, migraine and stress,” she adds.  Since, the visually challenged have a sharper tactile sense, they would be ideally suited to carry out such a task.

Srikarunya conceived the idea of starting the centre during his recent visit to Malaysia, where reflexology has been a popular vocation for the blind. "I spent a full day at the Malaysian Association for the Blind, where I saw those with visual problems perform massage to the the feet and ankle with perfection. I thought this would be a good thing for those in India as well," he recalled.

Perfectly suitable

Nita Pradhan, who has been training the six visually challenged individuals believes that visual impairment helps them feel the pressure points in the feet without any distraction.

"This has been the first time I have had an opportunity to work with the blind and I understand that they are perfectly suited for this kind of training," she said.

With no qualification required and with minimum training in etiquette and body language, NABK officials say this could be a great job opportunity for the blind.

"Most of these trainees are from the rural areas and have no chance to communicate with outsiders," said M Srinivas, CEO of NABK. "In normal circumstances, they would have had no chance to work, but with reflexology, we feel they have a great chance to earn their own money and lead a decent life like anyone."

NABK, with the help of a private franchisee, is opening its first reflexology centre outside the NABK premises, in Indiranagar on Sunday (August 16), and based on the demand, would open more centres across the City. "Right now, the public can visit NABK centre for healing sessions and we charge Rs 250 for half an hour. The trainees will become part of the regular payroll on completion and we would slowly expand their numbers in coming months," Srinivas said.

Mahesh (26), who is also amongst the first batch of trainees, said reflexology had opened up a new opportunity for him.

"I'm from a small village near Mysore and with reflexology, I feel I can show that I have a skill of my own."

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