Inspiration is around the corner, success is nigh!

Family is not always a fixed idea of father, mother, husband or wife for everyone but also friends, colleagues, or even strangers met with at a common place for some. The role family plays is significant in shaping the lives of all individuals. But how much their role gets visibility and how much of it gets acknowledged? Ignoring credit or criticism, people care, share and love to stay together and such virtues lay the framework for a strong family.

Rupali from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh is fortunate to be born in one such family. She is only 15 years old and visually impaired. She was born with Septicemia, a blood-stream infection which was life threatening in the beginning. Her parents sought a permanent fix for her condition and underwent all possible treatments they could. Treatments were largely futile. The blood stream infection affected her eyes in few years. Though the Septicemia treatment showed positive results, she gradually started losing her eyesight and that seemed irreversible. For a forthcoming girl like her, losing eyesight was an inexplicable feeling. She had to always stay put in the house which she never liked. She couldn’t go out anymore cycling with her neighbourhood friends, her schooling seemed uncertain to pursue and her horizon shrivelled in size day by day. By the time she reached 2nd standard in school, her parents stopped sending her to school, and not only that, they started tailing her all around. Her family started overly protecting her and mostly because of a lack of awareness. Her mother and three elder sisters took good care of her while her father left for work as a teacher in the nearby village school. It never went through their mind to educate her, train her or make her independent. They were more than happy in taking care of her.

At the age of 9 years Rupali underwent a surgery to prevent further vision loss but it did not bring about any tangible difference. Her eyesight kept deteriorating alongside her family’s hopes. At around 15 years of age, she lost 100 per cent of her vision. During this period her sisters pursued education and the eldest sister also got married. And Rupali grew into a quiet adolescent girl who needed her sisters’ support to speak, walk and almost do everything. Her world started getting smaller and she also started to accept it subconsciously. Having no exposure to life with blindness, she and her family needed a strong intervention.

Her brother-in-law, who works as a Sales and Marketing Executive with a private company in Gurgaon suffered at the circumstance endured by his little sister. He tried to help in the ways he knew but he also didn’t know much about a life with blindness. It took three years for him to figure out that a life with blindness can be worked out for Rupali. His enquiry among friends, colleagues and on the internet led him to Eyeway. He watched Eyeway’s TV series ‘Nazar Ya Nazariya’ on YouTube and was overwhelmed watching episodes 12 and 13 on Policies & Law and Universal Design respectively. This feeling of right to a life with dignity, seeking out the policies and laws filled him with hope for Rupali.

He patiently watched the entire series and on finding Eyeway’s number, he contacted the Helpdesk and shared his sister-in-law’s entire story. While the family’s love and support for Rupali was inspiring, certain facts were disappointing too. They didn’t know anything about restoring Rupali’s life to normal but her brother-in-law was not ready to give up. He wanted to know whether Rupali could gain education and personal independence. Though during the conversation the counselor tried talking to Rupali, she was reluctant to speak. The family was assured of the possibility of living life with blindness. Counselor confirmed the need for rehabilitation, training and education for Rupali so that she could live a full life.

And for starters, the counselor suggested All India Confederation for the Blind (AICB), New Delhi for rehabilitation training and NIOS or CBSE open board for pursuing her school education. This conversation with Eyeway counselors instilled a lot of confidence in her family and helped them build trust in Eyeway. This enabled them to encourage Rupali to communicate with the counselors directly. Eyeway team called and spoke to Rupali to understand her issues clearly. On communicating with her, it was felt that she is lacking in confidence and needed a lot of exposure to the outside world to overcome it. Her introvert life within the household hadn’t helped her much. She seemed to be lacking any vivid ideas on education, employment and an independent life. She had to borrow sentences from her sister who was prompting from behind to communicate. But the family is hopeful, now that they have found a saviour in Rupali’s brother-in-law and in fact, he found out Eyeway. They will be bringing Rupali to admit her in AICB for rehabilitation training in the month of August.