Like every year, a group of proactive students and staff at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) observed the International White Cane Safety Day on 15th October 2023. Around hundred students and university staff came forward voluntarily and took part in a blindfold walk from the Students’ Amenities Centre to the Centre for Integrated Studies. A team of visually impaired students, led by Mr. Raghu Vengala (a master’s student in the Department of Sociology) organised the event with the support and financial assistance extended by the University through the Empowered Committee for Differently Abled Persons. NSS team headed by Dr. Bhim Singh and several other students and university staff participated in the event, sending out a message that safety is everybody’s concern and no one will be allowed to be left alone.
The student organisers, joined by Beyond Forum — a voluntary initiative run by Mr. Umashankar Veeravalli (UoH alumnus) had setup the experiential zone for all the participants after the walk. Having walked blindfolded for around 2 km, several sighted participants said the experience of walking without being able to see gave them a new perspective of life. They further said that they can now better understand the mobility challenges of visually impaired individuals. The participants in the event unanimously agreed for a sensitive parking system and the need for collective efforts to ensure all-inclusive safety environment in the campus and outside.