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.

Sanjog Kumawat

In mid July 2012 we received a call from Dr. Bharti Kumawat of Surat regarding her 18 year old son Sanjog Kumawat. The son of doctor parents had been a bright student and was doing very well at a private CBSE school till 2011. At the time he was preparing for competitive exams in order to study medicine after class 12th.

Since birth Sanjog could see only out of his left eye due to retinopathy of prematurity, this was  however enough for him to function independently. In class 11th he suffered retinal detachment in his functional eye, and consequently he was left with eyesight that could read font size as big as the name on a newspaper masthead that too from a very close distance.

After almost a year’s break in 2012, when his parents started exploring possibilities for continuing his education, the school principal raised concerns regarding how Sanjog would continue his school work as he was not able to see enough.  Since the school principal had no information on educating a blind child, nor was he interested in finding out, he simply asked the parents to shift Sanjog to a special school for blind children. While exploring the internet for information on educating a blind child, Dr. Bharti landed on our website – www.eyeway.org from where she got our Helpdesk number and called us.

We told her about the notifications by CBSE to all its affiliated schools, which clearly stated that they cannot deny admission to children with vision impairment. We also provided needed support for Sanjog’s studies and examination including science and maths. For him to adapt to the revised situation, we also educated Bharti about the newer ways of reading and writing using computers with screen reading and magnification softwares like JAWS, NVDA and Zoomex. We also apprised her of study material in accessible format including audio books, Braille books, E-text books. We along with NGOs like NAB, Saksham in Delhi and XRCVC in Mumbai, then put her in touch with a class 12 CBSE science student from Delhi who is totally blind and doing quite well in school.

The principal of the school was still resistant in spite of clear directions by CBSE. With the efforts of Dr. Sam Tarapurwala from XRCVC-Mumbai to whom we referred Sanjog’s case, Sanjog could rejoin his school in class 11th once again.

The timely intervention helped Sanjog move on in life without wasting too much time. He learnt to use screen reader enabled computer and took all his exams including class 12th CBSE board exams on his laptop and scored 76%.

However the road to board exams was littered with another set of challenges. CBSE had earlier refused to let Sanjog appear for his board exams in his examination centre at Surat. A 2012 CBSE circular stated that visually impaired candidates using laptop had to take their exams at a CBSE regional centre, which in this case was Ajmer. Since Ajmer was quite far from Surat, both his school and the Eyeway helpdesk rallied around him, and a talk with the CBSE heads by Eyeway meant that he could finally sit for his exams in Surat.

Dr. Bharti cheerfully acknowledged and thanked Eyeway as being a great help in showing her a ray of hope for her child’s future. She acknowledged that the right kind of information and guidance at the right time helped her to look beyond despair and take swift action.

Sunjog is not a confident outgoing boy. After scoring 76% in 12th he went on to attend a rehabilitation course from NIVH Dehradun which was suggested by one of our referrals. The earlier home-bound Sunjog now travelled alone from Dehradun to Mumbai to take admission at Saint Xaviers College for his graduation. With our time-to-time motivation and guidance coupled with the family’s own efforts Sunjog is now a happy young man who has many dreams and aspirations for his future. His mother has also gained confidence from this experience and doesn’t ever feel that her child is all that different from sighted children.

Mahesh Narasimhan

Mahesh Narasimhan, a 35 year old resident of Delhi having ten per cent vision got in touch with the Score Foundation in 2014. He had been called for an interview as part of the admission process to the Executive MBA programme at the prestigious Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), University of Delhi. Despite having cleared the written aptitude test and performed well in the interview, he was not offered admission. The misinterpretation of the Persons with Disabilities Act (1995) emerged as a stumbling block in this situation.

As per the Act, at least 3 per cent reservation should be offered to persons with disabilities. The Score Foundation encouraged Mahesh to stand up for his legal rights and engage with the Office of the Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) in this regard. Mahesh made a representation to the CCPD, which then took appropriate action by sharing a letter with the Registrar of the University of Delhi.

After taking consistent action to fulfil his dreams, Mahesh was finally granted admission to FMS in August, 2014. Despite the fact that he joined classes two months after the other students, he went on to achieve the 5th rank in the first semester examinations. The cherry on top of the cake is that he also topped the entire programme and received the gold medal. Mahesh’s story shows us that when you go on an all-out campaign towards achieving your dreams, nothing is impossible.