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.

Khalid Hammed Bhat

Khalid Hammed Bhat is a 23 year old young man from Jammu & Kashmir. Khalid is visually impaired due to the degenerative condition Retinitis Pigmentosa, which his brother and sister also share.

Khalid first heard our radio show, Eyeway Yeh Hai Roshni Ka Karawan, and called the Helpdesk in April 2013. When he contacted us, Khalid was struggling with the imbalance of issues he was trying to juggle; inaccessibility of education, prejudice and ignorance preventing acceptance in society and a lack of self-belief. As a graduate, he was resigned to applying for clerk level jobs which he knew would not allow him to show his full potential.

The Eyeway Helpdesk counselors helped Khalid prioritise his needs and work through his emotions. He knew that he wanted to learn new skills and broaden his education, but didn’t know who to approach for help. He also wanted to work towards a career.

We suggested he take up some training in using screen readers with computers for reading and writing, and that he also work on his mobility and practice his English language skills. We put him in touch with the Mitra Jyothi organistion.

Khalid travelled to Bangalore and took up the training opportunity.

A few weeks later, we called Khalid to seek an update. He is learning computer basics and Spoken English, which will be useful for future work. He mentioned that he gets an hour everyday to talk, the rest of the time he is at the campus, learning and taking his lessons. He mentioned he had even met one of our former colleagues here at Project Eyeway who has moved south, Pranay had counseled Khalid and had suggested that Khalid try Mitra Jyothi.

We were most pleased to hear Khalid talk about what he was doing, not about what he couldn’t.

Mohammed Rihan

When Rihan suddenly lost  his eyesight due to retinal detachment in 2008 he was appearing for his class 12th  exams. His life came to a stand still as his confidence plummeted. He could not think of any job opportunities, as with his meager eligibility of 12th pass along with his deteriorating vision, he was in his mind, virtually unemployable. He became home bound and even feared to step out of his home to nearby places in Lucknow.

When he heard our radio show in February-March 2011, he was motivated to do something productive in his life, like the hoards of other people featured in our Radioshow. This helped him regain his confidence and he started believing in himself once again. Consequently, he contacted us in March 2011 seeking information regarding job placement.

We in turn motivated him to resume his studies, which would lead to a wider scope of job opportunities. We informed him about the usage of computer with the help of screen readers like JAWS, which make work for persons with vision impairment possible. To learn computer with the help of screen reader, we connected him with Rehabilitation Society of the Visually impaired (RSVI) in Lucknow.

Given the fact that he had not lost his vision completely and was able to see to some extent, we suggested him to consult a low vision specialist who could help him to optimally use his residual vision.

On our suggestion, he took admission in computer course in RSVI the very next day after our counselling. He went for a low vision consultation after a month of our counseling in Indira Gandhi Eye Hospital of Lucknow, where he was equipped with a magnifier. Not wanting to waste another moment he enthusiastically took admission in graduation program in May-July 2011.

In his mind the computer training was really helpful to him, because not only did it boost his confidence and make him independent – by enabling him to make notes in class using a computer, it also connected him with many other visually impaired people, which helped him realize the immense potential inside him. On 3rd October 2013, he very cheerfully shared with us that  he is about to finish his 3rd year of graduation. He is also enrolled in computer classes in two NGOs in Lucknow and has cleared 2 “O” level exams in computer on his own merit. He plans to now do either B.Ed or for M.A. degree after his graduation. When we last spoke to him, he thanked Eyeway Helpdesk  for the support, counselling and intervention.

Mukesh Singh

In the past 8 years since the conception of the Helpdesk, our Helpdesk counsellors have always struggled to provide useful information to Helpdesk callers who lose their sight in later years, especially those who are 40 years or over. Our interaction with several callers as well our own information gathering processes point out,that there is a pandemic lack of rehabilitation services for this group of people in India from either NGOs or government organizations.

Mukesh singh (name changed), 48, is a client who has lost complete sight due to retinal damage. Currently living in Patna with his wife and three children, he has been a contractor in the past. Apart from taking construction contracts, he was also engaged in agricultural activities before he became blind.

After watching Nazar ya Nazariya, he saw light at the end of an otherwise long dark tunnel. He was motivated to endeavour to resume independent mobility and once again resume his financial responsibilities. Our helpdesk counseled him to boost his self worth and help him see possibilities of leading an independent life.

After consulting many people, we came across two organizations, Composite Rehabilitation Centre and Bihar Blind Sports Association that provide training to children. Upon request they finally agreed to provide him training as well. However, Mukesh remains dissatisfied with the services rendered. This is due to the fact that these services are not designed to meet the needs of middle aged people, and most of them are designed to meet the needs of younger beneficiaries only.

Therefore, we have suggested him to start his own small business with the help of other family members. We have informed him about loan scheme offered by Bihar as well as central government in relation to self employment. We also referred him to a role model who could better guide him about the nitty gritties of owning and managing a business.

All this however, does not change the fact that rehabilitation services available for people who lose their vision later in life are at best rudimentary. Through our learnings, gathered over a decade, we recognize the need for robust rehabilitation services for such people.

Samad Shah

30-year-old Abdul Samad Shah from Pulwama, Kashmir got to know about us through our radio show- Eyeway Yeh Hai Roshni Ka Karwan in February 2012. He had lost his eyesight in 1977 due to Glaucoma. That year he had passed class 10th and taken admission in class 11th, however, due to poor financial conditions at home, and the search for a cure for his incurable eye disorder he idled away time till late 2012. After spending 15 years at home, his patience and frustration bubbled over, which resulted in a call to the Helpdesk, seeking information about a cure for his eye condition.

When he called Helpdesk on 8th of February 2012, he sounded very distressed and was having suicidal thoughts. Our counselors informed him that as of now his eye disorder is incurable. We then proceeded to counsel him to seek rehabilitation. The several telephonic counseling sessions supported by live examples of our counselor’s own life with blindness and many other examples helped him gain some self confidence. Helpdesk with the support of advocacy team assisted him in scribe’s verification for railway group D post exam closer to home, for which he would otherwise have had to travel to Delhi. Over time we forged a bond of trust and respect with Abdul. Taking the railway exam boosted his self-confidence and he started venturing out independently. He also started applying for more jobs independently. He started approaching government offices and started talking to government officials seeking employment opportunities.

On 24th of December 2013 he informed us, that as a result of all his endeavours, he has been successful in getting a job as a telephone operator’s in the Revenue department of his district.

The case study clearly demonstrates the immense value, the right kind of guidance can create in someones life. Not only were we successful in motivating someone to have a positive outlook and regain his confidence, our counselling has enabled him to be gainfully employed and for the first time in 15 years – happy.


Uzzaiv started losing his eyesight due to Retinitis Pigmintosa (a type of degenerative  eye disorder) in 2005 while taking his 1st year B.Com exams. Due to a lack of awareness about provisions for people with blindness, he left his studies as he was beginning to find it difficult to read his books and write his exams on his own.
In order to be self-reliant he started taking home tuitions for classes 1-12. He taught all the subjects till class 10th and English and Commerce subjects for classes 11th and 12th. His father is a retired government servant whose pension is the only source of income for the family other than his tuition fee. By the end of January 2013, his vision has deteriorated to such an extent that he started finding it extremely difficult to read anything even from a very close distance.
On the advice of a Delhi-based disability professional of a well-known NGO, he, at the age of 25, enlisted our help on 29th January 2013 to overcome challenges imposed on him by his deteriorating eyesight.
We, on Helpdesk informed about a variety of topics. From the usage of Braille script to computers enabled with screen reading software which would enable him to read and write despite his deteriorating eyesight. We also suggested that he goes in for rehabilitation, meaning learning to manage his life with blindness by doing the same things with different alternative solutions. For instance, if earlier he used a paper and a pen to write down everything, now he could use either Braille Slate, Stylus and paper or screen reading enabled computer to write and read anything.
In order to move independently, he would need to use a white cane instead of his eyesight. For all this we put him in touch with a Lucknow-based NGO working for people with blindness, called Rehabilitation Society for Visually Impaired (RSVI). However what was most important was for him to get a disability certificate which is required to be able to avail the facility of the rehabilitation course, formal education and acquiring employment. We therefore suggested that he get a disability certificate issued from a district eye hospital in his region.
On the basis of information provided by him, the rehabilitation course could either help him restart his home tuitions or to resume his halted education which would create better earning prospects in the future.
As a result of our suggestions, he did his rehabilitation training from RSVI, and has taken admission in Diploma in Education (DEd) and also resumed his formal education in 2013 itself. He informed us on 18th of February 2014 that he has now become hopeful about a life with better job and other prospects. He has gained confidence due to networking with other people with blindness which has led to little successes in his own life. He is currently also appearing for competitive exams for a job in the government sector.
When we last spoke to him, he was thankful to Eyeway for correct guidance in his time of need when he had almost lost all hope of a self-reliant and fulfilling life due to his deteriorating eyesight. Now he admits that before he came in contact with us, he was very depressed and now after a year, he sees many possibilities for a life with blindness.

Mukesh Jitendra Shah

Mr. Mukesh Jitendra Shah has several medical issues like problems with his knees, high Blood Pressure and diabetes along with 40% blindness in legal terms. He is completely blind in one eye and has 6/28 eyesight in the other eye. Hence, has been considered one eyed due to Diabetic Retinopathy since 2003. Before this, he was employed at SBI Ahmedabad in 1984 as a clerk. He was promoted to scale I officer as Assistant Manager (Systems – dealings in softwares) in 1995. In August 2012 he was again due for promotion on the basis of his seniority, but he was denied the promotion due to him being one eyed. He went for the interview, but was declared unfit during medical examination. SBI issued a circular in July 2012 according to which, either employees having eyesight in one eye or those having degenerative eye disorders are not eligible for promotion. He also informed us that he has been transferred to Junagarh which is 350 km away from his hometown.

The 52-year-old Mukesh from Ahmadabad, Gujarat contacted us in April, 2013 hoping for some respite from his dilemma on the advice of one of our Baroda-based client who had earlier benefited from our help.

He primarily had two problems, the issue regarding transfer and the issue of promotion on the basis of his seniority. He was asked by his office to join the Junagarh branch from April 13th 2013 which is 350 Km away from Ahmedabad. Staying away from his home was difficult for him, as he has a number of medical problems apart from blindness. The Helpdesk apprised him about a circular by Ministry of Finance regarding ‘Exemption from Routine Periodical Transfer of Employees with Disabilities’ which could be used to sway the matter in his favor, since he is an employee with disability in the legal terms. We emailed him the circular right away.

As far as promotion was concerned, we suggested that he give a presentation stating that he is having 40% disability which means he very much comes under the purview of disability according to Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation)Act, 1995. This meant that he was eligible to make use of Section 47’s Clause 2 – ‘No promotion shall be denied to a person merely on the ground of his disability, provided that the appropriate Government may, having regard to the type of work carried on in any establishment, by notification and subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in such notification, exempt any establishment from the provisions of this section.’

On 19th of February 2014, he informed us that his transfer to Junagarh was cancelled in September 2013 thanks to the circular of Ministry of Finance we have provided him. As far as his promotion was concerned, he was not given promotion inspite of having 40% visual impairment, as according to the bank’s policy one-eyed candidate’s are not eligible promotion, with which he was satisfied and did not make much efforts for promotion.

We would like to take the example of this case to mention that denial of promotion due to degenerative eye disorder does not seem to be logical when there are possibilities of managing most office related tasks with the help of assistive technology. In Mukesh’s case, had his office been a little accommodating and open in their approach, with the simple provision of magnifying softwares, a little faith Mukesh’s capabilities and the desire to invest in him, the task would have been quite doable. This would also have helped many employees with disabilities future from undue discrimination.

Pappu Khushwaha

3rd March 2011 was the first time when 15-year-old Pappu Khushwaha called the Helpdesk to enquire about government provisions for people with blindness after listening to our radio show – Eyeway Yeh Hai Roshni Ka Karawan.

Pappu who is completely blind, was at the time studying in class 10th in a government school namely – Sarvodaya Vidyalaya which is in Hemu Colony, Lajpat Nagar, Delhi. On asking, we apprised him of provisions like concession in air fare, reservation of seats in Indian Railways and gave him much more information meant for persons with visual impairment. The cordial interaction and right kind of information built his confidence in us and with the passage of time we developed a mutual bond of trust and a good rapport. He now found us a reliable source for any desired information on life with blindness. It is his trust in us which brought many blind boys of the same school to the Helpdesk.

He along with 40 other blind students of his school stayed in an Amar Colony based hostel meant for blind boys which does not provide any other facility except boarding and lodging and the school also does not provide an environment that is conducive towards blind students.

In the month of September 2011, like previous years, the students were asked to arrange scribes on their own for the 1st-term exams as the school strictly denied the facility. The students could not arrange scribes since exams were also going on in other schools. At this time, he along with other students with the hope of getting the issue resolved, approached Helpdesk. When simple persuasion from our Helpdesk and advocacy teams did not resolve the issue, we garnered the media’s support to pressurize the school to provide writers to the students which is the school’s duty according to Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to which it is affiliated. Consequently the school did provide the scribes. Later on we approached Delhi Directorate of Education for various issues pertaining to education of blind students at school level.

Our interaction is still ongoing. He keeps calling us for information from Mumbai-based Wilson College where he currently is studying B.A. pass course. He thanked us for providing help in his time of need including the assistance provided in pre-admission process in his college.


This is Bhagyalaxmi’s story. Bhagyalaxmi is a 57 year old woman with low vision associated with other medical issues namely neuro-muscular problems, diabetes, and depression. She is currently living alone in a government quarter in Delhi. She has no contact with her single brother who is her only surviving relative. She has been terminated from the office and living her life without any pay or financial gain.

She never got married on the pretext that her brother would arrange a suitable partner for her. She joined the Armed Forces Headquarters, Ministry of Defense in 1983, and has survived three road accidents which occurred in 1987, 1993 and 2005.  The accidents aggravated her health issues and furthered the feeling of helplessness due to lack of appropriate treatment and guidance.

Post the last accident in 2005, she was treated at a private hospital and informed her office about the fact. Since she was not treated at a government establishment she could not submit government Medical Certificate, due to which her absence was considered unauthorized. Furthermore, her office contested that due to her deteriorating eyesight, she was no longer fit to work on a computer.

As a result of this, a charge sheet was filed against her without considering second opinion about her medical condition, and she was terminated from her job. The walls caving in from all sides, namely disability, deteriorating health, financial & emotional insecurity prompted her to call the Helpdesk after listening to our radio show – Eyeway Yeh Hai Roshni Ka Karawan in October 2011.  We apprised her with relevant legal information in accordance with her case. Under Section 33 and 47 of PwD ACT 1995, she has the right to be reinstated and ask for suitable accommodation at her previous job. Equipped with legal information she pressurized her officer to send her for medical review in order to get a Disability Certificate. From here, the journey of advocating for her rights began. She approached many hospitals namely LNJP, AIIMS, RML and Safdarjung for a review of her medical conditions, and knocked the door of every government official from the chief minister to her MLA, she also wrote a letter to the then president of India in 2012 to get support or else permission for Merci- killing.

Her plight increased manifold in 2012 when the electricity supply to her house was officially cut off and the water supply stopped. This continued for almost one year. One cannot even imagine life without these two basic facilities in a city like Delhi. However, Bhagyalaxmi did not break under all this pressure; instead she stood up strong and continued her fight against the unfair government system. She faced series of discrimination from every avenue including CPWD, DESU, BSES Rajdhani Power Limited and NDMC. Thanks to her grit and determination the aforesaid problems were finally solved.

The Helpdesk has provided her constant support throughout this time. She has been provided with all relevant documents at her time of need. Our office staff has also made several home visits to deliver documents to her personally and also to provide assistance in household chores like cleaning and dusting. Because of the medical conditions she finds it difficult to perform household chores and moreover, she cannot afford domestic help.

Till date, the official matter is lingering on which has led her in to depression. In the absence of emotional, physical and financial support, she often cries out of helplessness. Considering these issues, two of our helpdesk counselors visited her in 2013 and discussed the plan for future action which she might need to take. We observed that her living quarters were in serious need of renovation as naked electric wires were hanging everywhere and the cement was falling from the ceiling. All these things are very risky for her life as she is staying all alone.

We struggled to convince her to renovate. We even suggested various options to make her living place clean and safe. With her consent, someone from our office helped her in house cleaning and assembling of loose electric wires. Since a couple of years, she has been running around hospitals for medical review to get a Disability Certificate. Finally after a lot of struggle, she was assessed by the medical board in the latter half of 2013. However, she was not informed about the communication that happened between the medical board and her office.

With our assistance, she filed an RTI to the medical board and got a copy of the communication that took place between both the departments. The Medical board’s report stated that she had been diagnosed as having 40 % disability of visual impairment and suggested her office that as per the section 33 and 47 under PwD Act, she be reinstated.

This finally gave her the assurance that she will soon be reinstated.  After so many years of struggle, she can finally envisage a better quality of life.

Our next step was to address her emotional instability. Thus, with her interest in mind we suggested her that going to Dr Achal Bhagat for counseling and treatment can be helpful for her.  She took this positively and visited him, where she was diagnosed with depression and finally put on medication.

Now, she is hoping for better times to come back in her life and as a passionate learner, she wants to learn computer with screen reading software. She is also willing to narrate the plight of her life to the current President of India so as to highlight the deplorable status of single blind woman in India.

Munna Kumar Shah

24 year old Munna Kumar Shah has been living with blindness for 10 years now, due to Retinitis pigmentosa. Since the death of his parents, he has been shuffling between his elder brothers houses. One of his brothers lives in a village in the Saran district of Bihar, while the other stays in Delhi. He frequently travels from one to the other with the help of an escort. He spent his days, without any hope of ever being independent or resuming his education. He seemed to have resigned himself to the situation.

Upon listening to the Eyeway Radio show he called up our helpdesk. He spoke of helplessness as his brothers were not interested in investing in his education, employability or independence. Since both his brothers did not have a clue about life with blindness, they were often ignorant of his needs. He wanted guidance regarding education and training. We informed him that education and training were very much possible even without financial assistance from his brothers.

We told him about open schooling, mobility training, and about technologies such as Braille, Screen Reading Software etc used by visually impaired people to become more independent in their day to day lives. He enlisted our help in locating services in Bihar as he wanted to stay close to his familial roots. However thorough research revealed that there are currently no options for rehabilitation of a 24 year old school drop out in Bihar. Considering his needs and financial constraints we put him in touch with Jayati Bharatam in Lucknow.

However, he was reluctant to move to Lucknow and instead decided to come to Delhi. Since he was still looking to do something, we put him in touch with BRA in Delhi. Due to lack of support from family, the decision proved difficult. He wanted to stay in a hostel, however he feared that his brothers would sever all ties with him upon leaving home. We counseled and motivated him to enroll himself in a training as a stepping stone towards realizing his dreams.

We are happy to report, that he has finally enrolled himself in BRA for mobility and vocation training. He admits that his life is much better, now that is not sitting idle at home. He has found meaning in life. We have also informed him of the upcoming NIOS admission for class 10th, and we hope that he goes on to complete his education and live a meaningful and independent life.

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.