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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014

Students from diverse backgrounds learn to know the world better

Rameshinder Singh Sandhu, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, January 05, 2014
First Published: 23:15 IST(5/1/2014) | Last Updated: 23:15 IST(5/1/2014)

HT team visited the 90-year-old Institute for the Blind near Lohgarh Chowk on Sunday as part of the 'World Braille Week' to remember Louis Braille, who gave birth to Braille system of reading and writing for the blind.

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About 55 students from across the country with different economic, linguistic and religious backgrounds are learning to understand the world through Braille system and also make a dignified living for themselves.

Manjeet Singh (63), the principal, is himself an alumnus of the institution who later graduated from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. He joined as the principal of the school in the year 1991.

Twelve of the teachers here are also the alumni of the institute who later got higher degrees from different institutions.

Singh says some alumni from here have set milestones for others. One of their old students Jawahar Lal Kaul, he says, has set up a Braille press at Rohini in New Delhi to provide books in Braille to blind schools in the country at nominal rates and in some cases for free.

"Blind students of the institute have successfully exhibited their talent in many ways despite the handicap they suffered from. Some of them are highly talented in computer, singing, poetry, musical instruments, public speaking, debates and games such as chess, carom and even cricket," he said.

Every year, the students who do well in academics and those who show great interest in extracurricular activities are awarded on World Braille Day (January 4).

On this day, a function organised in the school.

At 5 pm, a dedicated music class is held every day where students learn to play different kinds of musical instruments and singing from their teachers. Class hours generally start from 9 am till 3 pm.

The students take all the responsibilities like regular boarding schools.

"We should be thankful to Louis Braille because of whom blind people got access to education. There are many blind individuals who have attained great heights in their life with the help of Braille system," Singh says.

"He lost vision at a very young age but did not lose hope and today is a worldwide example," he adds.

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