Blind Welfare Services in VrindavanBeing afflicted with the lack of sight is one of the greatest afflictions of the human experience. For the children and people who have lost their sight due to some accident it is a double calamity because they are always in fear of coming across and being harmed by some of the dangers of the potentially hazardous world. For those who have never had the gift of sight the entire world is one dark abyss. There is, however, succor for these sightless people when other human beings rise above themselves to give them the special care and loving that they have been blessed with by the dear Lord who is the resident deity of Vrindavan.
Shri Yashodha Nanadan Andh Vidyalaya or the Vrindavan School for the Blind and the Sri Vrindavan Andh Mahavidhyalaya or College for the Blind are institutions devoted to the total welfare and upkeep of the blind children who have been left in Vrindavan to earn the blessings of the Lord. Many of these children had been abandoned at birth or had been left there to fend for themselves when the parents found them to be a burden or could not take care of them because of their special needs.
Beggary is one of the easiest means of earning that is reported to be a means of earning and it is resorted to by the poorest of the poor in Vrindavan. It cannot be said if all the beggars who are blind and begging on the streets of Vrindavan have been abandoned there. Sadly enough there is a beggary racket prevalent in India especially in tourism oriented areas and deplorably enough many a child has been forced into this heinous craft by mutilating them. Blinding the child is one of the easiest ways and one cannot say how many of the blind children seen on the streets of Vrindavan were victims of such nefarious designs.
Care of the Blind Orphans
The blind orphans were first taken to the orphanages where they were kept off the streets and given the basic essentials of food, clothing and shelter. Then they were segregated into the school going age and sent on to the residential school where along with the minimum necessities of life they were also engrained into the illuminating world of knowledge and education. Thus, these educated youth were then given gainful employment within the very institutions where they grew up or they were then helped gain lucrative employment in areas which were best suited to their talents. There were several musical ‘mandalis’ or groups made up of singers who were blind and who had been ordained in the classical musical traditions of the Raas Lila so that they could accompany the several dance groups that thronged to the holy city of Vrindavan during festivals that are held all-year-around.
Donations to the Blind
All through the year on special occasion there a number of programmes organized in which several donor agencies visit these institutions for the blind and hand over to the inmates several useful gifts that are for their personal use. Several charitable organizations like the Shyama Shyam Dham make it a point to distribute amongst the blind inmates several items like jugs, glass tumblers, mosquito nets and even glucose biscuits. Other donors may gift Braille books and still others tend to distribute clothing both old and new to the inmates so that they may be well equipped to face the different seasons of the holy land. Other donations may be high value ones like the one given by Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj to the School for the Blind. It was a seven lakh rupees worth mini bus for the exclusive use of the blind school. The bus would be useful for transporting the children to and from various destinations within and outside the city when-so-ever required to help enable the students to participate in various programmes held especially for them.
Of the several avenues of living open to the blind children living in Vrindavan the only ones that seem to be most rational are the school, college and employment avenue where the blind can live with dignity and earn themselves a decent income for surviving.
Many of the school and college activities of the blind institutions of Vrindavan also include vocational classes where the student make a number of items and these are then sold through exhibitions and help them earn some money for their out-of-pocket expenses.