In need of the right guidance

Amitha Murali (name changed) from Ernakulum contacted Eyeway in July 2018, after hearing about it from the radio promotions. She contacted Eyeway seeking education related guidance. Amitha is a very ambitious girl having done her schooling and graduation with deteriorating vision with the support of friends and family. 21 year old Amitha came through a lot of struggles in education, mobility and daily living since 2rd standard when her visual impairment was identified for the first time.

Being a financially poor family there wasn’t much they could do about her treatment. Her mother who worked as a peon in a nearby school was the only source of income for the family. This income was barely enough to run the household chores. Thus, after Amitha complained about her vision and some reading difficulty, they couldn’t afford any major consultation or treatment. They temporarily aided her with a pair of spectacles. This seemed a relief at that point but her vision kept deteriorating. Without having any awareness of technical aids she struggled through her school life. Her friends and teachers helped her and the best they could do was audio record the class notes for her. She finished her school and graduation with whatever little assistance she could mobilize. But mobility and independence remained large obstacles for her daily living. Also, her mother being very protective she never travelled anywhere far and alone. Now her vision is diminishing exponentially than before and she is underprepared for the future. Except that she has replaced her spectacles with a magnifying glass for reading and other minor tasks, no significant improvement has come to her life. She has finished her graduation and she wants to gain employment so that she can be independent and also support her family. For this she has few government exams in her mind like the UPSC, Public Service Commission (PSC) etc.

On comprehending her issue, Eyeway counselor deemed it important that she learn computer and suggested that initially for her. She was made to understand that learning computer can help her prepare for her exams easier with accessible study material and independently. Also, counselor made her understand that computer knowledge is inevitable to any workplace, both in a private and public sector job. For this purpose contact details of computer training course was shared with her and also informed her to avail the facility of a free computer supplied from the Panchayat office for the visually people. And to do UPSC or any government related exam coaching, useful contact details were shared with her. But Amitha interrupted all suggestions which were far from her own town or even in another district. She shared her misgivings about travelling far from home or without the support of her mother. Eyeway counselor considering her fears suggested options close to her home and where she was confident of travelling, while subtly suggesting to her the need to overcome all such fears. A bright and ambitious girl like Amitha needs to empowered and informed so that she will not drown in the socially driven fears and doubts.

Eyeway counselor has taken it upon himself to communicate to her the idea of independence gradually that she reaches her goal fearlessly and with dignity.