“You don’t need sight to see problems but must have the vision to solve them,” said Abrar Ahmad Bhat, a visually impaired youth from Srinagar who works for welfare of specially-abled people.
A graduate from Delhi University, Abrar is the first specially-abled person who has pursued Japanese Medical Manual Therapy course. He has also done various banking courses.
Currently working as a junior associate in Punjab National Bank, Abrar and his specially-abled friends run an institute where differently-abled children are provided computer, religious and moral education, besides, playing various indoor games with them.
“In 2016, I was appointed in Punjab National Bank and got promoted in 2020 as junior associate. My work deals with digital marketing and the handling grievances and queries of the customers. Since digital education is very important in present-day and age, so I along with my friends decided to lace up these specially-abled children with the same knowledge.”
In their computer institute at Nowpora, Srinagar presently 25 speically-abled students are receiving education. “The institute is not specifically for any disability but we welcome all the specially-abled children.
“We have Braille Quran and the holy scripture with large font size for them as well. Our students use laptops just like any normal child, though we have different ways of using gadgets. Some students are also going to start their own YouTube channel,” he said.
This all, he said, is necessary to keep them motivated to excel in their own way in various aspects of life.
In Sopore and Baramulla district, Abrar and his friends have also set up cutting and tailoring centers for disabled, orphaned and below poverty category people.
These days, Abrar wants to promote Kashmiri language as there is no synthesizer to support the language on Google platform. “If a person would say something to Google in Kashmir, it won’t be able to give results as there is no synthesizer. Kashmiri language must be available in Google text-to-speech conversion facility,” he said.
Abrar has also drafted a Google petition and is hopeful that it will lead to some worthy outcome. He said, “The reason behind the step is I have travelled to many states of India where I saw regional languages are given more attention as compared to English. It haunts me why are we lagging behind in promoting our language?”
He said Kashmiri language support in the conversion facility will be beneficial not only for the disabled people but for those who are not fluent in English or other languages.
For the uplift of specially-abled people, Abrar wants the government to pay attention towards their grievances. “Our institute is working with the help of the public. There is no support from the government.
He has drafted a number of demands which he wants the government to implement for the welfare of specially-abled persons.
“The government should provide scholarships and loan subsidies and our monthly pension should be increased to Rs 5000. Besides, ambulances must have a drop facility and we should get medical support. There should be special counters and special officers to deal with disabled people.”