Clearing the dark clouds of negativity

Ranaram, a 27 year old visually impaired hailing from Barmer, Rajasthan contacted Eyeway in 2018. While his ‘past’ inspired Eyeway, his ‘present’ seemed in contradiction to it. He comes from a six-member family but with meager finances. His father and four other brothers lived by daily labor. His father and the eldest brother died few years before but the rest of the family continued doing daily labor for a living. He is the only one in the family who has gone to school though not regularly or at the traditional age. None of these reasons have been a challenge; instead, they have only made a positive impact.

His visual impairment was a challenge to start schooling at a young age. But only after joining school he realized the integral role it would play in his life which also changed his attitude towards living with blindness. He initially studied in a blind school till 8th standard nearby his village. He never faced any difficulties except a self-doubt whether he and the other visually impaired children belonged to a special school.  Being very conscious of the value of equality, it made him think very early in his life about an inclusive society. His friends were big influencers in his life, most of them sighted, whose conversations, activities, hobbies etc. made him aspire to integrate into their mainstream lives. After 8th standard, encouraged by friends coupled with his own drive, he moved to a mainstream school in Jaisalmer where he studied for the remaining four years and completed his 12th standard.

For such a brave individual, it appeared as a surprise to the Eyeway counselor that he was sitting idle at home since 2013 after finishing school. Except for rehabilitation training in National Association for the Blind (NAB), Mumbai for a period of three and a half months in 2016, he was confined indoors for five years. He seemed reluctant to give a concrete answer as to how and why he came to this present situation, but surely he appeared to be in need of help. He said the mainstream school did not guide him, neither did NAB Mumbai. And when asked about his friends, the response was in the negative too. He kept retracting his statements and contradicting himself.

Instead of going by the ‘past’ which was self-contradictory, Eyeway counselor found a fix in Ranaram’s confusing ‘present’, that of five idle years indoors, the absence of any guidance, friends turning strangers among other domestic problems of his. Eyeway tried to become his friend, guide, and support to help him overcome all problems. He asked for institutions to get computer training so that he could find a job soon enough in Mumbai or Gujarat. Eyeway suggested Blind People’s Association (BPA), Ahmedabad and a few computer training centers in Mumbai. Again his reason to travel from Rajasthan to either Mumbai or Gujarat was to be with friends. Though his reasons and excuses were not convincing, the best effort was lent to resolve Ranaram’s issue.

On follow-up, the counselor understood that Ranaram chose BPA over other computer training centers because the training is free of cost. At BPA he has presently enrolled for a course in physiotherapy.