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What Inclusion means to him

Mohan Harijan (15) is a poor tribal boy living with his parents and three siblings at Korlahandi; a remote village of Koraput district. His father works as a daily labour and the family of six members depend on the wage of the loan bread earner.

Mohan being the eldest of the siblings and blind since birth worried his parents. They became very protective about him. He was not allowed to go outside or play with anyone. He was totally dependent on his mother for his daily routine. With increasing age, his burden on the family also increased. He was now considered a liability by many

In the year 2011, a block disability survey was conducted by SOVA with the support of SIGHTSAVERS International where Mohan was identified. During initial assessment it was found that he was unable to do any work by himself. The school teachers were pressurising his parents to enrol him in the school for blind at Koraput. The parents hesitated to part with Mohan. Crushed in between, Mohan had to stay indoor without any studies.

Through the project support of Sightsavers to strengthen Inclusive Education program in the district, the project staff of SOVA left no stone unturned and got Mohan enrolled in common school. Simultaneously he was trained on orientation and mobility and was exposed to outside world. The rehabilitation and functional assessment were done and he was provided with supportive devices for mobility. Repeated advocacy with headmaster, IE teachers and block level officials finally helped Mohan role out of Primary school. He learnt the use of Braille, Abacus and other teaching materials. He also attended the International conference on visually impairment meeting at Cuttack where he was provided a DAISY player to enhance his learning ability. Seightsavers also supported him to get his left eye (that bulged out) operated at Vivekananda mission ashram at kolkata

Today Mohan is preparing for his class 10th exam. He goes to school with his friends and is able to move freely in the village and does his daily work all by himself. He has shifted to technology (ICT devices) and Braille. The project has planned to support Mohan with a tablet and provide him with operational training for using ICT. He has received awards at block level for song and music

Mohan aspires to become a teacher. As he is well versed in using the tools, he says he could be very effective in imparting teaching to the blind children. He feels common school as the best learning space for any visual challenged child so long teachers do not consider them as liability.

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