A new beginning

33- year-old Sant Lal Paswan contacted the Eyeway Helpdesk out of desperation in June, seeking employment opportunities. He had heard about Eyeway on radio. Growing up in West Bengal’s Bardhaman district, Sant Lal had struggled since early childhood to see clearly and had somehow managed to get by in school. However, in Class 12 when his vision deteriorated further, his visit to the local eye hospital revealed that due to retina damage he had lost 75% of his vision, which was irreparable. While he was handed over a disability certificate, no further information was given to him on how he could live his life with vision impairment.

After clearing Class 12 without using scribe facility, Sant Lal tried his hand at various competitive exams but failed to clear any. Due to his vision impairment, he was rejected from every = job he applied for. This eventually led him to believe that he could do nothing, confining him to his home for the next fifteen years. He is dependent on his father, who sold milk for a living and his three brothers who are daily wage labourers.

Understanding his state of desperation and accumulated frustration from years of dependence, the Eyeway counselor assured him that it was possible to take up any job after undergoing a computer training that was a prerequisite for jobs relevant to him. Unaware of screen readers and other assistive technology, he wondered how he could do a computer course without seeing clearly. As he was dependent on his family, he also constantly worried about the expenses he would have to bear to go through any training programme. Over the next few calls, our counselor apprised him of various training options provided free of cost in different cities by various organizations. He was counseled and encouraged to enrol in an organization of his choice and travel out of his hometown for better opportunities. Sant lal was also advised to undergo a vision assessment test.

Eager to start his life afresh, Sant Lal was ecstatic when he received a confirmation call from Samarthanam Trust in Delhi, where he will receive a three-month computer training along with a hostel accommodation. From being skeptical, he turned optimistic through his constant conversations with Eyeway. He was further encouraged to enrol into higher education through open schooling.

Calling Eyeway Helpdesk on the first day of his computer training at Samarthanam, a happy and confident Sant Lal expressed his gratitude to the Eyeway team for showing him the path to an independent and dignified life.