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Perkins School for the Blind

Perkins School for the Blind is an international association that originally started off as a school for the blind. But as time passed, more disabilities were taken care of at the schools. Founded in the United States, today it has grown into an international organization that reaches out to children and adults with disabilities all over the world.

In poverty stricken areas, people with disabilities are the least of the bread-winners’ concern. In a typical family, employment is preferred to education at an early age, and a visually/hearing impaired child or adult is often seen as just an extra mouth to feed. They are marginalized by their own society and family. That is where Perkins International comes in. Perkins International has branches all over the world, including in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America, giving necessary aid and care to people with disabilities.

Perkins International breaks its work down into four branches: education, advocacy, information and technology, and leadership development. Perkins not only provides education for children with disabilities all over the world, but also works to train the teachers who will assist said children. With advocacy, Perkins International hopes to help children and adults with disabilities achieve recognition and equal treatment, as well as increase awareness about this often under-represented population.

Perkins International also brings new technology to the disabled in the form of their “Perkins Braillers®”, which helps the disabled read and write in Braille, a tactile print language that is accessible to the visually impaired. Finally, Perkins encourages local leadership, by training members of the local community to teach and lead a literacy program for the disabled. The leadership initiative, also known as the Educational Leadership Program, and the Institutional Development Program, also encourages and employs adults with disabilities. This is not only a great economic move, but also gives hope to young disabled children, especially from poverty stricken areas, that they can lead the future as well.

Today the individual branches of Perkins International all over the world can celebrate many triumphs, and it’s these small victories that can lead to larger ones. Whether it is successfully teaching one visually-impaired child how to read Braille, or holding a Braille Cup to encourage reading, learning, and a healthy dose of competition in a school for visually- and hearing-impaired children, the important thing is that children’s lives are being positively impacted.

Aalekhya Malladi

Sources: IDP