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Visually Impaired Students Struggle Due to Lack of Support in Kashmir

Yasir and Zakiya, blind by birth from Kashmir are two of the students who struggle every day as there are no alternative means available to them to continue their studies. According to a survey conducted by education department of the local government, more than 45,000 children in Kashmir are with disabilities. In this session, more than 2000 students are going to appear in board exams. Javaid Ahmad Tak an activist from Kashmir working for the rights of people with disabilities, says “the biggest problem is that in the education sector, teaching-learning material is hardly available, there is a dearth of sign language interpreters for deaf and dumb students, these students suffer most during this pandemic.” Even teleclasses are not serving the purpose as there are no interpretations for the students. A report published in Kashmir Monitor suggests that according to a survey conducted by Swabhiman, a community-based organization working for the rights of persons with disabilities in many states including Jammu and Kashmir revealed that about 43% of children with disabilities are planning to drop out of studies due to difficulties faced by them in online education. A total of 3,627 people, including students, parents, and teachers participated in the survey. According to the survey, 56.5 percent of children with disabilities were struggling yet attending classes irregularly, while 77 percent of students said they would not be able to cope and would fall behind in learning due to their inability to access distance learning. the existing laws like the rights with disabilities act is not being followed and implemented and is being openly violated. Zakiya Manzoor Manzoor Ahmad Sofi Zirpara bijbehara dropped from the government school when her siblings started education. Her blindness pushed her to peripheries. She was given education till 8th from zaiba aapa and she completed class 8th with 75% marks class 10 and 12th with 80% marks despite she had 100% blindness. Yasir Ahmad Hakura Badasgam an orphan boy became blind due to retinitis pigments and lost 90% of his sight in class 9th. Yasir was prepared to learn Braille and was helped to join the National Institute for the Empowerment of visual disabilities Dehradun. He passed class 10th and class 12th with distinction. Both students with blindness joined Aligrah Muslim university class 12th and passed the exams with good marks.

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