Raising Awareness…
Here are some stories about the people we have helped, which explains the impact of our work and why we feel it is so important.

A teacher’s fight for justice

30 year old Kishore (name changed) is 100% blind. But his disability has in no way impacted his passion for academics. A meritorious student, Kishore’s love for English literature, led him to complete his Bachelors, Masters and MPhil in the subject. He further pursued a B.Ed degree and secured a job of Primary Teacher in the Bhuribha Lallubhai Mehta School in Singarva, Ahmedabad.
In September 2016, he came across an advertisement for the post of a Trained Graduate Teacher (TTS) by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS). Kishore promptly applied for the position and received a Call Letter for the written examination. He undertook the exam with the help of a scribe. The question paper was in multiple choice format but there were also some diagram questions that needed to be answered. Given his vision impairment, Kishore felt that his inability to accurately answer the diagram questions adversely impacted his performance in the exam. When the results were declared, he missed the cutoff for the interview by one mark.
Disheartened, he contacted the KVS authorities to report the issue and request for a reassessment of his diagram questions understanding his limitations to respond to the same. But his pleas fell on deaf ears.
That’s when Kishore decided to take strong action and contacted Eyeway for help. After examining all facts in the matter, our counselor put him in touch with legal experts to help him file a petition in the matter. A writ was filed in Gujarat High Court seeking relief for Kishore and the court passed an interim order stating that one vacancy be kept open for the TTS post until the next hearing.
Eyeway is in touch with Kishore and will continue to offer support until his matter is resolved and justice is duly served.

Catch them young

15 year old Tejas (name changed) has been undergoing eye treatment at the Low Vision Enhancement Centre of Shroff Charity Eye Hospital, Daryaganj, Delhi. He began losing his eyesight in February 2016 when he adversely reacted to an injection while being treated for another condition. Ms. Sonia at the Low Vision Enhancement Centre suggested visiting Score Foundation in order to understand how to proceed further. And so Tejas and his parents arrived at the Score Foundation office, hopeless and anxious. They poured their heart out to our Helpdesk team. Our team, familiar with the attitudes that ignorance fosters, reassured his parents that blindness is in no way an impediment to personal growth and success. They shared with him many examples of persons who were visually impaired and continuing to live normal, independent lives.
Tejas, a confident young boy, was keen to hear what our counselors had to say. Our team told him about the various rehabilitation courses that were available for visually impaired persons. They contacted All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB) on behalf of Tejas and inquired about admission. They also helped procure audio books for 9th standard from National Association for Blind, R.K Puram to ensure that Tejas does not miss out on his studies. We will be keeping in touch with Tejas and his family to ensure that he enrolls in AICB for the coming session. Our team will not rest till Tejas is finally back in school.

Getting back on track

Being diagnosed with vision impairment early on in life is a challenging affair. This challenge is compounded when students, unaware of the plethora of opportunities available, drop out of school. The belief that life stops after blindness continues to persist despite so many visually impaired persons excelling in a variety of fields.
23 year old Piyush (name changed) a resident of Motihari Bihar, discontinued schooling after Class 8 due to his vision impairment. For many years he sat at home, engrossing himself playing the Tabla and Harmonium.
However, he desired to get his life back on track by finishing school and securing a job. Desperate for guidance, he called the Eyeway Helpdesk. Our counselors informed him about the vocational and mobility training programmes for the blind run at various institutions. The Helpdesk put him in touch with the Blind Relief Association, Delhi as well as the National Institute for Visually Handicapped (NIVH), Dehradun. They also suggested that he enroll in an open school.
Piyush not only enrolled himself in a vocational training program at the Blind Relief Association, Delhi but also completed his class 10th Board Exams though CBSE (correspondence) this June. Having expressed an interest in pursuing music, our Helpdesk has been working hard to find him a good teacher.
Piyush aspires to teach music at the University level some day. We are certain that if he continues to doggedly chase his dream with grit and determination he will surely succeed. Our counselors have assured him that they are there to guide and assist him whenever he is in need of any kind of information from the world of vision impairment.

Banking on Eyeway

40 year old Rajesh (name changed), a class 4 employee of the Indian Navy is posted in Lonavala, Maharashtra. He has an account at the local State Bank of India and recently decided to apply for an ATM card. The bank officer rejected his request claiming that he could not issue an ATM to a 100% visually impaired person. Rajesh tried to argue his case but was unable to convince the Bank Officer to issue him a card.
Rajesh heard the Eyeway promo on the radio and immediately got in touch and shared with our counselor the issue he was facing at his bank. Our counselor confirmed that the bank could not deny him of this basic right. They informed him about the RBI guidelines that clearly state that the bank rules are same for both sighted and visually impaired.  They e-mailed to him the relevant circulars and guidelines and urged him to share the same with his Bank Officer.
He submitted the circulars to his local branch and was duly given his ATM card 8 days later. He now uses his card regularly at the talking ATMs. He plans to avail of other bank facilities in times to come. This time round he knows he has the information to make the bank officers aware of the rules.

Changing destinies

Rajesh (name changed) works as an advocacy coordinator at the Shalom-Care Centre for HIV patients. Through the course of his field work around slums of Delhi he met Meera (name changed).
Meera is a 19 year old visually impaired girl who comes from an economically marginalized background. She lives with her mother who is in no position to provide her with the specialized care and support she needs. Rajesh very much wished that Meera too, like other girls her age, could have access to a good education and healthy living conditions. He got in touch with Eyeway wanting to know what her options were. Our counselors immediately suggested that the best way forward was to get in touch with NAB-CBW (National Association for the Blind Centre for Blind Women). NAB-CBW caters to equipping visually impaired girls and women with the education, vocation and life skills they require to operate independently. Rajesh, on behalf of Meera, contacted NAB CBW. Meera has since successfully enrolled with NAB-CBW. Rajesh and Meera were extremely grateful to the Eyeway counselors for their timely support and information that will make a lasting impact in Meera’s life.

Striving for self reliance

29 year old Palash belongs to Nashik. His blindness stopped him from pursuing his education beyond school. Over the years he did odd jobs around the house and helped his brother run a family grocery shop. When he found out about Eyeway he thought it might be interesting to call and find out if there were other options that he could explore as he really wished to do something of his own. Our counselor gave him information about how he could pick up his studies from where he left off.  However, Palash did not seem keen to resume studying after such a long gap. Our counselor then told him about other job options like starting a business. This caught Palash’s ears and he immediately expressed his desire to run his own business. In the past he had considered running an outfit that would grind flour and wheat. We informed him that the Social Welfare department has many schemes for loans and that he was eligible to apply for them. Following the Eyeway counselor’s advice, Palash got in touch with the Social Welfare office at his Gram Panchayat which in turn approved his loan. He is working steadily towards setting up his business. We wish him luck and hope that his story inspires others to move towards independent livelihoods.

An ear for music

21 year old Sameer has a passion for music. So great was his love that he discontinued his schooling after Class XI. He went on to pursue music and successfully graduated in the subject from a local music school. However, he felt that he was lacking something. Knowing and playing for himself or for smaller groups was not going to work. He needed to be part of something bigger. But what? Perhaps an orchestra? He decided to get some guidance from our counselor at Eyeway. His aptitude for music and the determination and dedication in the field made him a prime candidate for an orchestra. Our counselor found out about a local blind orchestra and gave him the details of Mr. Saurabh Kaushalkar, the man behind the orchestra. Sameer immediately got in touch with Saurabh and was invited for an audition. Sameer is now a member of the orchestra and on his way to pursue his childhood dream.

Catching up

In 2010 when Madan (name changed) completed his 12th standard, unlike his classmates, he did not apply for higher studies as he lost his eyesight. Unaware of the plethora of avenues that are available to visually impaired students, he was confined to his home. In April he got to know of Eyeway and decided to get in touch. He shared with the counselor his desire to learn Braille. He was keen to find a way to get his life back on track, blindness had held him back for too long. Our counselors advised him to begin by getting a Disability Certificate made in order to avail the various public sector schemes and programmes for persons with disabilities. They also shared with him the contact details of Lucknow based NGO Jayanti Bhartam, that provides education and rehabilitation to adult persons with disabilities, and told him that they would be in a position to guide him and provide him with the necessary skills and knowledge for him to get his life back on track and be able to study and work in the future.

Accepting change

Every month we get many calls regarding usage of smart phones. While younger folks seem to be quick to learn and master this new technology, the older ones seem intimidated by it and tend to, for the part avoid it.. Faisal (name changed) from Govindpuri in Delhi, an employee of the Indian Bank was recently posted to the Digital Banking department at his bank. This involved working with Internet banking, ATM related queries and know-how of the bank’s android app. In the past he was reluctant to switch to a smart phone but now with his new role it became necessary for him to purchase an android phone. He got in touch with Eyeway where our counselor shared with him information on the available phones, their accessibility features and guided him to buy a phone. In a series of telephonic as well as face to face interactions, our counselors imparted basic training on how to operate his new android phone. Faisal now seems to be quite comfortable and finds it quite useful.

An example in good parenting

Vivek (name changed) is a working professional living in Mumbai. He has a 2 year old son who is blind. Unlike many parents of disabled children, Vivek doesn’t see his son’s blindness in a negative light. But he is concerned about the child’s education and inclusion into the mainstream. Vivek wants to provide a good education to his son, so that he feels no less or any different from a sighted child. Vivek explored the internet to seek necessary information on blindness for over 8 months but he didn’t really find answers to his queries until he stumbled upon the Eyeway website. When he called the Eyeway Helpdesk, our counselor reassured Vivek, listing out myriad possibilities for his son to lead a fulfilling life despite blindness. The counselor apprised Vivek of government schemes and provisions, online and offline resources including local NGOs that could prove useful for his son. The counselor also shared some tips on parenting a blind child. Eyeway counselor emphasized on the need to get a disability certificate for the child and also shared the relevant hospital details to process the same. In a follow up call made by our counselor, we learnt that Vivek had contacted the hospital for the disability certificate. He also visited Xavier’s Resource Center for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC), a Mumbai based NGO working for education of the blind. XRCVC assured Vivek of their support and suggested to enrol the child in a mainstream school. Vivek was grateful to the Eyeway Helpdesk for attending to his concerns patiently and empathetically.