Mahbubur Rahman Rony’s brilliant mission for the visually impaired
Did you know that a group of visually impaired people from Bangladesh and India have been collaborating on audio plays using technology? The cultural group, Ganga Padma Shilpigushthi, set high hopes for visually impaired people to nurture their talents through this initiative.
Marking World Sight Day, which is celebrated every second Thursday of October all over the world, The Daily Star spoke to Mahbubur Rahman Rony, founder of Ganga Padma Shilpigushthi.
Mahbubur has been visually impaired since birth. Although he was culturally involved for his family's interest, his passion and dedication brought remarkable achievements in his life. "My mother and three sisters have always supported me. My sisters would read books for me, and I have been reciting since childhood," he shares.
By profession, Mahbubur is a lecturer of English at Government Teachers Training College Sylhet. He is also the first visually impaired BCS cadre in Bangladesh.
"Usually, visually imapired people are hired for teaching the same kind of students, in primary schools," he shares. "However, my students are not visually impaired, and technology makes everything easier."
"With the notion of staying culturally engaged I have initiated a platform for visually challenged people in February last year," asserts Mahbubur.
With his sole effort, he gathered young, visually impaired volunteers who have helped in the technical departments and lent their voices in the audio dramas.
Mahbubur writes, directs, and guides the performers accordingly for the productions.
Most of their projects are based on the lives of the visually challenged, with a focus on occasions such as Independence Day, Victory Day, Pohela Boishakh, and others.
"We have produced over 20 plays within a year or so," says Mahbubur. Two of their productions were aired on ABC Radio and Radio Shadhin.
"Although two of our productions were aired on two radio channels, It is sad that there were no promotions made prior to the show, thus the audience response was not satisfactory," he says.
"I am well aware that our productions are not professional by any standards. Yet, I am desperately in need of sponsors, so that we can provide professional training to the performers."
He also highlighted that most of the radio channels and other similar mediums in the country do not pay enough attention to them.
"Our performers are from different places, they are connected over Whatsapp. It is where they send the work through voice messages."
Mahbubur believes that if visually impaired people are trained by professionals, they will not just act through voiceovers, but also perform in full swing in any other medium.
"We are lacking technical support as we don't have funds," he claims.
"We can't even pay any honorarium to our performers, If we don't get sponsors, we won't be able to run our group. My aim is to make the visually impaired culturally rich and create a platform for them, where they can establish themselves as artistes."
Mahbubur completed his Bachelor's and Master's in English at Dhaka University and did his MPhil from University of Oslo, Norway. He did some teacher's education foundation courses at Boston College, USA, from 2018 to 2019.