Who says you need eyes to fight someone in order to protect yourself? Twenty-two visually impaired have learnt the techniques of self-protection and that too just in two days. These specially-abled people have even challenged nature and undertaken difficult trek to places such as Lohagad, Shivneri, and even the Raigad Fort.
Twenty-two visually impaired youngsters took part in the two-day workshop and trained under professionals from Eklavya Taekwondo Academy
Nayan Foundation, in collaboration with Eklavya Taekwondo Academy, organised a two-day self-defenCe workshop for the blind at Rotary Club of Bombay Uptown (Wadala) on May 1 and 2. Nayan Foundation, established in 2010 is known to organise various events for the visually impaired.
The chairperson of the organisation, Poonalagar Devendra told Sunday mid-day, “We have been regularly organising different adventure activities for the blind. Soon after the organisation was established in 2010, we took 16 blind trekkers to Shivneri. Again in 2011 and 2012 we organised treks with 60 and 80 blind trekkers to Raigad and Lohagad respectively.”
The secretary of Nayan Foundation, Shardul Mhadgut, added, “We also organised a Dahi Handi event with blind Gopalas in 2014. This year the members wanted to try out something different and hence we thought of organising a self-defence workshop.”
A seven-member team including male and female trainers was appointed to teach various techniques of self-defence to the participants. Usha Shirke from Eklavya Taekwondo Academy, who led the team of trainers said, “When we were approached by Nayan Founda-tion with this proposal, we were not sure how we were going to teach self-defence to blind people. But we took up the challenge and prepared ourselves for the task at hand. The workshop turned out to be a success and the group we trained included 10 girls and 12 boys.”
When asked if the trainers had to take some extra efforts for this workshop, Shirke revealed that she and her trainers first blind-folded themselves to get an idea about the challenges of the participants. “I blindfolded one of my team members Narendra Ujenval and tried teaching him before the workshop. I also blindfolded myself while standing at Dadar railway
station and tried climbing up the bridge.”
Shirke and her team have given special attention to the sensory substitution of the participants. “While they lack their sense of sight; their ability to hear and smell is very sharp. We have taught them to use these to their benefit,” she added.