Our Field Report 2011:
Identification and Need Assessment of Blind and Partially Sighted Children:
3. Bargaun VDC:
Very early in the morning at 6-30 am on 20th of May our three staffs, Chhitup Lokraj and Anit started their journey to Bargaun VDC which lies to the eastern part of the district headquarter Simikot. This BDC contains five villages. That day, they had a plan to visit all the villages. In the first three villages, they could not found any blind and partially sighted child. However, they identified a huge number of persons with other disabilities. While going to Langduk, Torpa Hutik and Nimatang villages, our staffs had to struggle with very rough path. They had to cross a very fast flowing river through a wooden bridge. It was quite excited and adventurous as well. When they reached at the last village Bargaun, they saw a boy on the way and ask him if there is any blind and partially sighted child in that village. The boy said: "Yes sir, there are three blind children in the same family" "Look that is their house" the boy added pointing out his finger to the house which is a bit far away from the other houses in the village. Then our staffs headed towards the house. A woman appeared from the house and she was Rithu Sunar, the mother of the children. We asked her about her children. She said "I have three blind children and they are just around" She showed a small boy just next to her and Said: "He is Chandrabir eight years old, my one of sons and he cannot see properly." Afterward her husband, Sal Bahadur Sunar also came with their daughter, Shreedevi Sunar nine years old, and she was also partially sighted. Both of them never go to school. Later on we asked them about their third blind child. Sal Bahadur asked his wife to call the son, and he told us that he is Raj Bahadur Sunar, their eldest son 15 years old can see a bit better than their other children and is studying in class eight in the local school near by the village. We again asked them why their other two children are not going to school. They said that on the one hand, the children cannot go to school due to their poor eye sight and on the other, poverty is a big problem for them to educate their children. In fact, this family belongs to Dalit, locally called Dum, considered as low caste (untouchable) and is one of the most disadvantaged, marginalized and vulnerable communities in Nepalese society. After almost 10 hours walk to the village to village and house to house, we walked back to Simikot at 3-30 pm from Bargaun village. It took almost three hours to reach Simikot. On the way, there was the same river we crossed in the morning. At that river bank, we had lunch, locally called Roti, a kind of bread which was backed from home in the morning.
4. Syanda VDC:
On 24th and 25th of May, our staff Mr. Lokraj Shahi visited the four villages of Syanda VDC which is located in the north-western part of district headquarter Simikot where he identified 3 children with low vision in three different villages and 85 other persons with disabilities in the VDC. In this VDC, most of the parents and relatives of the persons with disabilities expressed their bitter experience that so far, no organization/project has been launched in the area to provide any kind of opportunity and service to the disabled people even the government is passive and irresponsible for them. Additionally they also said that any organization who work for people with disabilities will be a great work, religion and will be the eyes for them to open the world in front of them. And also the general public suggested HEAD Nepal to come again and again throughout the villages with supportive/helpful programs and even to exchange the happiness and sadness what they have. They added that there is nobody and no organization who can hear the voice of person with disabilities.
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Report prepared in Nepali Language by Lokraj Shahi.
Translated into English by Chhitup Lama.