It’s never too late!

18 years of age, Somnath Chandra has never stepped out of the house on his own. He has never seen the sight of a school or undergone any form of learning. Blind by birth, Somnath hails from a farmer family in Korba, Chhattisgarh.

As soon as his parents realized that their child was blind, they thought life was over for him even before it started. Somnath sat inside the four walls, not knowing what to do with his time and life.

Neither Somnath nor his family were aware of ways of educating a blind child.  They believed in the general societal notions of disability leading to total dependency. It never occurred to them that their visually impaired son could also ‘do’ something.

Listening to an audio channel called ‘Hamari Vaani’ for persons with disabilities, Somnath learnt about Eyeway, a helpline for persons with blind people. When he spoke to the Eyeway counselor, Somnath wanted to know all about life with blindness. He had questions about educational opportunities, if blind people could move around independently, and if they could carry out their daily activities without any sighted help.

After the counselor explained how all the above were possible and there was more to life despite his blindness, Somnath became both curious and hopeful. We helped him understand what his interests were so we could guide him accordingly. He said he wanted to attend school but he was already over age by regular school standards. As an alternative we suggested he enroll for open schooling, following which he could pursue higher education via mainstream channels. Alongside, Eyeway apprised him of ways to access his course material, by taking help from family members in reading out notes as well as using certain assistive devices.

Apart from studying, Somnath needed reorientation and appropriate training which would equip him with the confidence of moving around on his own, using computers and performing all daily tasks independently. While Somnath has already started his distance education from CBSE, he will enroll in the next batch of rehabilitative training at Blind Relief Association in Delhi.