Between dreams and despair

23-year-old Suchitra (name-changed) hails from Thrissur district in Kerala. She belongs to an upper middle-class family. Her Father is working in a private company and mother is a homemaker. Suchitra was born sighted. She started her schooling in Thiruvananthapuram.

While studying, Suchitra dreamt of becoming an engineer. With hope and conviction to accomplish her dreams, she joined an engineering college in Thiruvananthapuram itself. She successfully completed three years of her course. However, in the fourth year Suchitra was diagnosed with Optic neuritis and multiple sclerosis. She started to face acute symptoms. This also affected her brain and she began to experience memory loss.

All these changes terrified her. Her education was at halt. She discontinued her studies to undergo medical treatment. Due to her eye condition, Suchitra couldn’t re-start her engineering career. However, this did not deter her from acquiring knowledge. In 2017, she went on to pursue Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies with enormous efforts. She has completed her examinations and is waiting for her final result.

Suchitra was still seeking medical resolution and got in touch with Little Flower Hospital, Angamaly for the same. She was unaware and not well-versed about how to lead a life as someone one with visual impairment. The doctors connected her with the Eyeway Helpdesk for additional support and further understanding of coping with blindness. In quest of information, Suchitra visited the center in June 2018. To begin with, our counselor tried to understand her problems and challenges to help her with suitable alternatives. After realizing her current position, our counsellor shared some inspirational stories including his own struggles and achievements to encourage Suchitra and her parents. They were moved by listening to such motivational experiences and accomplishments of visually impaired people in India.

Further, on learning that Suchitra was searching for job opportunities and immediately wanted to work, Eyeway suggested her to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in order to avail better opportunities. As she was interested to study English, the counsellor advised her to skim through the course structure of mainstream institutions to gain clarity in choosing her area of interest. However, the idea of sending Suchitra to a mainstream college didn’t go down well with her parents as they were over-protective towards her. They were willing to opt for parallel college instead.

Our counselor also recommended her to apply for government jobs and explained her the procedures for acquiring disability certificate for the same. She was persuaded to prepare for Lower Division Clerk and Public Service Commission examinations as well.

On follow up, our counsellor learnt that Suchitra was inspired and motivated to work on the suggestions provided by Eyeway Helpdesk.