Background

Being  female in India is often far more difficult than it is in most other countries. A crime against a woman is reported every 3 minutes with countless more going unreported with the blind and visually impaired disproportionately targeted.

 

It is easy to forget that Indian society often also places further pressure on women to be a certain way. Even taking part in sport can be difficult for most young girls and women in India as families pressurise them to prepare themselves for marriage - often arranged. Those with disabilities such as visual impairments are often unfairly seen, even by their own families, as a burden on society.

 

With 20% of the world’s blind and visually impaired living in India and in a country where healthcare can be difficult and expensive to access - particularly in rural areas - it can appear hopeless to many. Less than 30% of this huge blind population are educated, many have never encountered braille and even fewer find employment.

 

Aazadi (Freedom) shines a light on a group of women who have battled all of this as well as their own fears. They range in ability on the judo mat from the Paralympic hopeful to those just finding their feet after years of hiding away at home. Some have found jobs, learned to read braille and some have not only managed to leave their homes but have travelled far and wide due to what they have been able to learn. Their determination and courage has given them hope and, as it is said in India, they all have the desire to touch the sky, something they all once thought was impossible.