They may not have the ability to see the light but their mind is not dark. Alongside pursuing education in braille system at various educational institutions, some 23 students with visual impairments are also making jute products living in a non-govt organisation RDRS Bangladesh in Haribhanga area of Lalmonirhat town.
They are making various types of jute products including bags, perch, shika, wall mats, table mats and others. There is a great demand for these jute products made perfectly by these visually impaired students.
A local handicraft company is marketing the jute products made by the students.
Shimul Mohanta, Laily Akhtar, Bablu Mia and Manisha Khatun are among 23 others visually impaired students who work together to produce jute products before and after going to school and college. They work three and a half hours every day on average. Now their hands have become seasoned in making jute products.
"There is no light in our eyes, but there is light in our mind. And this light shows us the way, instructs us in life. We have learned the task of exploiting the inner energy of the mind and do our task," said Shimul Mohanta, a tenth-grader with vision impairment.
"We will be able to generate income by making jute products when we return home. We will continue to make our living by making the products," he said.
Manisha Khatun, a student of HSC with vision impairment, said she likes to make jute products and she is happy to have found the opportunity to be self-sufficient.
"We do not want to be left behind because we are visually impaired. We also want to be on the same track," she said.
"We have got the opportunity to have firsthand experience to hone our skills for three months. Our teachers are helping us, "she added.
With the help of Comprehensive School Eye Health Project CSHP under NGO RDRS Bangladesh, a three-month-long training programme on making jute products was launched for these students with visual impairment a year ago.
In addition to studying, the income which is being generated from making jute goods is being deposited in the bank accounts of the students.
Rashedul Arefin, coordinator of the RDRS Bangladesh's Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ELCA project, said "We have arranged training for the students with visual impairment. We are on the side of them and will remain with them until they become self-sufficient".
Munim Hossain, a project officer at RDRS Bangladesh's Comprehensive School Eye Health Project CSHP, said the students are being trained in such way that they will be able to trains others like them when they return home from here.
"They are producing quality jute products, we are happy," he added.