20 BLIND INDIVIDUALS CLIMBED NANDI-HILLS
On Saturday, October 27, 20 blind individuals climbed Nandi Hills, a 4,850 ft mountain near Bangalore, with the help of a team of 20 additional sighted volunteers.
In India, 64% of the disabled population is unemployed. The blind trek symbolically serves to break the stigma and encourages increased understanding of differently-abled persons’ capabilities despite being visually impaired.
Participants and volunteers met in Bangalore and drove to the base of Nandi Hills, where all volunteers had a brief sensitisation training on how to best guide their visually impaired partners and then had breakfast together. The climb to the top took four hours, and participants had fun trading places with their volunteers, having their sighted buddies close their eyes and learn how to walk using canes.
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The climb was a joint initiative between En Able India, a Bangalore-based non-profit that has dedicated the past 20 years to removing cultural stigma around disabilities and advocating for inclusive hiring practices, and Bikat Adventures, a learning-based trekking company focused on making adventure and personal goal achievement accessible to everyone.
One participant with visual and physical impairment was having a hard time climbing the last few hundred steps, so the team worked together to carry him to the top. He called it his chariot, and was greeted at the top by the rest of the group with a round of applause and cheering. Camaraderie was palpable.
Such incredible stories of bravery are commendable and we wish to hear & witness more.