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My Experience with A R I S E ~Ankita Goyal

posted Jan 4, 2012, 10:36 AM by Ankita Goyal   [ updated Jan 10, 2012, 2:23 AM ]

     By volunteering with A R I S E, I feel like I am making a difference and a sense of accomplishment. I always wanted to help physically challenged people and  A R I S E gave me that platform. I really liked interacting with visually challenged students the most. I think that it's the mentoring that I do, the opportunity to work one-on-one with those students. I know that they look to me whenever I go to blind school, and it's an honor, and I take that responsibility very seriously. It makes me feel really good to see their growth and involvement.

                   We collaborate with visually challenged students and their teachers. A special needs teacher with qualifications in visual impairment supports both the teacher and the child. We cannot work alone without the help of these teachers. I think the number and the kind of problems which a teacher encounters in his work with visually impaired children depends on how supportive of inclusion (or integration) is the whole system of education. In an ideal situation the teacher is not alone. The school has a resource center where Braille is produced, as well as other educational "tools" such as tactile maps or diagrams. We discusses the requirements of our teaching programme with the support teacher and so we dont need to worry about such adaptations and neither we feel a need to learn Braille.   

                   I think the successful integration of visually impaired children starts a long time before school age. As soon as I started my first English lesson with a totally blind child I realized that it wasn't going to be just English. You see, children who were born blind have many gaps in their knowledge of the world. Before you introduce a new English word or a phrase you must make sure that they understand the very concept of what you are trying to teach. The most important thing to accept when working with visually impaired children is that they are children and not different cases of visual impairment. Once you put the child before the medical condition you can concentrate on what the child can do, and not on what you think the child is unable to cope with. I think, with this attitude, real problems - but also solutions - are much easier to spot.

                 I think the biggest challenged that I faced while working in A R I E was to co-ordinate people from different parts of India. I had the most wonderful experience working with A R I S E. I think that A R I S E has the ability to link with existing structures, networks, and infrastructure of any other organisation. In this way, A R I S E is supporting and strengthening rather than building. A R I S E brings people together so they can collaborate, motivate each other, share ideas, and network. A R I S E also shows that together we are stronger than the parts we are made of. I think self-support groups and organisations such as "A R I S E" have given visually impaired children the confidence that they can also be a part of today's world. If I were to name the biggest achievement of A R I S E, I would say that it is showing them that visually impaired children have rights and that there is a brilliant future waiting for them. It will not come to them though. They have to reach for it.