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Covid scare keeps blind students away from school

Most parents are refusing to send children because of misinformation around the pandemic, says association secretary
Last Updated : 19 July 2022, 18:05 IST
Last Updated : 19 July 2022, 18:05 IST
Last Updated : 19 July 2022, 18:05 IST
Last Updated : 19 July 2022, 18:05 IST

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A city school run by Karnataka Welfare Association for the Blind (KWAB) is struggling to bring students back to the classroom. Out of 65 children, 37 have returned.

Parents are refusing to send their children back to the Residential School for the Visually Impaired, Seshadripuram, because of misinformation around Covid-19 and the new spike in Bengaluru.

“A lot of our students belong to districts outside Bengaluru. They had gone home when the pandemic hit. Many parents still believe that Bengaluru is a hotspot for Covid-19 cases and are scared to send their children to the city,” S Parashivamurthy, general secretary, KWAB, tells Metrolife.

He says the school hasn’t reported a single Covid-19 case since it resumed classes in 2021.

To bring the students back, the school has deployed teachers to visit districts near Bengaluru, meet these families, and bust myths about Covid-19. “We have tracked down the address of 15 students and are sending our teachers to their villages and towns,” he says. The school has 18 staff members — nine are full-time teachers.

Seeking support

The English-medium school running since 1999 is also grappling with fewer donations. “We don’t have government or corporate backing. We depend on public donations but that has reduced by 40-50% (since the Covid outbreak). This makes it difficult to keep the school afloat,” shares Parashivamurthy.

To battle this, it has launched a sponsorship programme. “One can sponsor the education of a child for an entire year by paying Rs 33,000. This will reduce the burden on parents, who are unable to pay for their child’s education,” he says. The sponsors will receive an update on the child’s academic progress periodically.

They also want to hire more teachers, and are open to people who would like to volunteer.

‘Venturing out, a concern for the blind’

Vishnu S volunteers with a disability support group in Bengaluru. He is aware that many members of the visually-impaired community are scared to venture out. “The lack of sight makes it hard for them to maintain the physical distancing protocol or to even understand what surface they are touching,” he explains.

For details about the sponsorship programme, contact 99865 71247.

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Published 19 July 2022, 17:36 IST

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