May , 2024
Disabled children: Education and rehabilitation
15:27 pm

B.E. Bureau

Child disability is, in fact, a serious and challenging problem of the world. In India approximately one of every ten children is disabled – physically, mentally or in a state of sensory disability. According to data from a decade ago, among two crores twenty lakhs physically declared disabled in India, 35.29% were children. The same situation stands at the global level. In the whole world more than seventy crore people are physically disabled and among them approximately 40 percent are children. This state categorically reveals the seriousness of the problem.

We are perhaps aware of the chief reasons of disability –child-disability in particular. In the main reasons for that even though we can count for improper diet to women during their pregnancies or in other words their malnutrition; improper looking after of children in their early age, which includes malnutrition again and sudden accidents, or strikes of natural calamities. However, all these reasons are connected in one way or the other with negligence, recklessness, unconsciousness, and lack of knowledge –illiteracy. There can be a few exceptions to this. Particularly, as mentioned already, those related to sudden accidents or strikes of natural calamities. Therefore, we can resolve these challenging problems largely by imparting proper education – awakening, consciousness, and knowledge. In this regard the utmost need is to realize responsibility by all of us and to work on a social plane that too getting free of prejudices in toto.

In this regard, however, the most important task relates to the availability of means for nutritive diet. This is, in fact, the most challenging task. According to data from a decade ago, in India more than thirty three percent of the total population (approximately thirty-eight crores in number) lived under the poverty line. The daily income of each one of them was below rupees sixty-five. At that time, the total number of such ones in the whole world was approximately five and half billion. Even today, crores of people are unable to meet two ends’ meals. Approximately, 22,000 children die every day due to lack of food –hunger and malnutrition. This is unfortunate –painful, terrible and a matter of serious concern. Child disability is largely connected to this serious state. Not only this, the problem of rehabilitation of handicapped children is also connected to it. It is a compulsion for those who wish for proper care for their children, but they cannot step forward due to poverty. They are means-less and unprivileged. It is really a spot on the forehead of the whole of humanity.

In this regard, the responsibility of the community of teachers-professors (who are, undoubtedly, more  or less, prosperous these days), multiplying many folds. For, they should step forward for the awakening through education on the one hand and discharge their duty to what extent it may be possible towards abolishing poverty on the other. All of us must bear this in our minds that until and unless immeasurable inequality prevails in the world, poverty, hunger, discrimination and lack of means exist and people are deprived of opportunities, a serious and challenging problem like this will also persist. For this, we can make efforts and we must do so for sure. Whatever is gained through efforts made individually and collectively, that will be the achievement.

— A Padma Shri and Sardar Patel National Awardee Indologist

Dr. Ravindra Kumar is a Former Vice Chancellor of CCS University, Meerut; he is, currently the Ombudsman of Swami Vivekananda Subharati University, Meerut (India).

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