India: Blind Leading the Blind

India children home orphan. Humanitarian photography.

Blind student, Dileshwer, can sense the warmth and brightness of the window light. Humanitarian photography.

Vishnu helps his blind students read braille.

Vishnu helps his blind students read braille.

Vishnu guides the hands of a student in writing braille.

Vishnu guides the hands of a student in writing braille.

Vishnu, center, play the accordion for blind and deaf orphans.

Vishnu, center, plays the accordion while blind and deaf orphans sing.

Even though he is blind, Kush Kumar, 6, somehow knew I was pointing the camera at him.

Even though he is blind, Kush Kumar, 6, somehow knew I was pointing the camera at him and smiled.

Sometimes the blind leading the blind is a good thing. Vishnu is a blind teacher teaching braille to blind students in rural India.

His passion and compassion is evident as he patiently uses his hands to guide the fingers of young students over the pins on braille tablets. I think by teaching these blind students I am serving God,” he says.

Before coming to this home and school for the blind and deaf, most of these blind students were begging on the streets. “My first goal is that children who are blind should not have to go and beg,” says Vishnu. He tells everyone he meets to support blind people for their entire education and not just by giving one time to a blind beggar. “… As many as 44,000 children fall into the clutches of the beggar mafia in India each year, and of these, hundreds are deliberately mutilated,” according to the national newspaper Daily Mail in the United Kingdom. Once disfigured or permanently maimed in some way, the children are then put out on the streets to beg. The money they collect goes into the hands of the mafia leaders.

Vishnu says he is thrilled to be teaching at the orphanage and school. “Nobody supported me when I was growing up blind. These children are so fortunate that the mission is doing so much on their behalf.” He adds, with obvious joy and pride, “I am confident that these children will one day get good jobs, not only in India, but abroad too. And hopefully, they will support children like themselves that have struggled.”

More than anything else, Vishnu’s wishes many more people would understand and contribute to the cause of educating these students. “There are so many blind children on the waiting list to join us. Please support us so we can help more blind children.”

Call to Action: If you would like to partner with CICM to help educate more blind children, go to CICM HERE.

All photos and text ©Copyright Gary S. Chapman 2016
(Sony A7RII24-70 f4 @48mm, 1/125 sec, f4, ISO 6400)
(Sony A7RII55mm 1.8, 1/800 sec, f1.8, ISO 100)
(Sony A7RII70-200mm f4 @100mm, 1/250 sec, f4, ISO 100)
(Sony A7RII35mm f1.4, 1/250 sec, f2.8, ISO 250)
(Sony A7RII55mm 1.8, 1/250 sec, f1.8, ISO 6400)

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