DNIS News Network -- As part of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council organised health camps for disabled children in June. The camps, for children aged 3 to 18 years, were held in various parts of the hills from 21 June till the end of the month.
A medical screening at the camps provided the information needed to provide the children with the appropriate aids necessitated by their disability at a later date, pointed out general secretary of DGHC Primary Teachers’ Organisation, Mr KB Hingmang. But more importantly, the disabled children were also provided with identity cards. No identity cards have been issued in the past year, as the post of orthopaedic in the government hospital — the only person who has the authority to give the disabled identity cards -- has been lying vacant.
The PTO invited several schools, social organisations and even parents of the disabled to take advantage of the services of the health camps. The camps were not restricted to children already enrolled in schools: “Any child with disability between the age of 3 and 18 could be brought to the camps.” Said Hingmang.
Disabled people living in the hills are more-than-normally disadvantaged, given the uneven terrain. Wheelchairs are of little use there and hardly any of the buildings or pathways here have ramps.
Added to this, a lack of awareness within the local communities mean that most of the statutory benefits available to disabled people have still not been provided in the region.