Enabling blind people to become taxpayers is the mission of Devnar Foundation
Education for children with disabilities remains a challenge across India, especially in smaller towns and villages. One organization that is trying to change that is the Devnar Foundation for the Blind, a school that empowers blind children in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The foundation was started in 1992 by Dr A Saibaba Goud and his wife Jyoti. Dr Goud, an eye specialist, decided to start this program after he witnessed the isolation of blind children, especially from poor families. Their problem was made worse by the poor awareness among their families. This meant many of them ended up begging, a situation Dr Goud was determined to change.
Devnar Foundation provides free education, accommodation, food, and learning materials to their students. The first six years were tough, as funds were limited, as was government support. But the couple were determined to stick it out as they were convinced that education was the only way to empower blind people.
Most blind schools in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are Telugu medium. But children need to be educated in English so they have better job opportunities and a brighter future. Even today, many parents of blind children refuse to send them to school, and this is especially the case with girls.- Dr Saibaba Goud, Founder-Chairman, Devnar Foundation
To convince them, the Gouds would personally visit rural areas to create awareness about education. Their mission is still incomplete. Devnar Foundation aims to bring more blind people together to study. Their mobile van visits rural areas twice a week and children who cannot come to school are taught in their villages.
There is emphasis on sports and extracurricular activities as well and students from Devnar Foundation have won awards at many international events too.
"We want to make make more parents aware of the need to empower their children and are determined to work relentlessly towards that", says Dr Goud.
The foundation claims to have empowered over 500 blind people who are now working in various banks, companies and local organizations across India. They are independent and provide for their families. As Dr Goud proudly says, they are taxpayers of the country now!