The pandemic has resulted in job losses and financial crunch for millions across the country. News reports have been full of stories of people struggling for rations, medicines and other daily essentials. Paying for electricity, water or rent has been extremely tough in the wake of rising unemployment.
Since April 2020, the Eyeway Helpdesk has been receiving numerous calls from blind and visually impaired people from all over India, seeking support to meet their regular expenses. These are people who were employed in factories and shops, or those who ran small businesses, owned petty shops or those who eked out a living as hawkers selling stuff in buses and trains.
22-year-old Karan Singh is totally blind and lives with his wife in Delhi, who is also visually impaired. The couple made money from selling items for an organization. But transportation and market places shut down due to the lockdown, leaving Karan and his pregnant wife in a desperate condition. Eyeway put them in touch with a few NGOs for acquiring ration. But their real problem was daily pressure from the landlord to pay up or leave the premises. Taking note of their vulnerable state, our counselor reached out to All India Confederation of the Blind, who leant monetary help to cover rental and medical expenses for a short term.
But there are many who have not been as fortunate as Karan Singh. Dinesh Kumar worked in an ice cream factory before the Covid 19 outbreak. The company closed down and Dinesh couldn’t find another source of income. Similarly, Ranjit Tirkey lost his call center job. Both Dinesh and Ranjit have been unable to pay their rent for the past few months.
Keli Tandi from Chhattisgarh, Bulu Sahu from Odisha, Babloo Kumar from Uttar Pradesh and Jitendra Kushwaha from Punjab, have also lost their means of livelihood. They are dependent on individual donations or NGO drives for ration supplies.
Eyeway has been instrumental in arranging aid from donors and organisations during the last year and a half. But for a country with 5.4 million blind citizens, it’s imperative to create alternate forms of employment, as charity cannot be a long-term solution.
For any information related to living life with blindness, please visit - http://eyeway.org.in/