Opening the gates of consciousness

Three brothers Shakir Malik, Shadab and Adil residing in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh are completely blind since birth. Born in an economically weaker family, their father works as a daily laborer and their mother does embroidery work on garments. As the parents had zilch knowledge about living life with blindness, all the siblings had a difficult time growing up. Shakir being the eldest suffered the most.

25-year-old Shakir missed out on early years of education due to ignorance and lack of awareness. Being the eldest among all the brothers, his grandfather was over-protective of Shakir and was adamant to not let him out of sight, almost restricting him to the house. He refused to even send Shakir to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) camp organized in his village. SSA camp is a government initiative which aims to provide inclusive education and conduct rehabilitation training and braille workshops for the visually impaired.  As a result, Shakir remained uneducated and sat idle at home for years together.

However, his younger brothers Shadab and Adil were fortunate enough to avail education. Due to the sudden demise of their grandfather, Shadab and Adil got a chance to join a government camp in Bulandshahr. In this camp, both the brothers got an opportunity to pursue academics and simultaneously acquire mobility training as well as know-how of assistive technology. Currently, Shadab who is 17 years old and Adil who is 15 are both studying in a mainstream school.

While Shadab and Adil are independent and educated, they slowly realized that their elder brother was incapable of performing his duties alone and had not acquired any skills to earn his living. Desperate to find help for his elder brother, Adil contacted the Eyeway Helpdesk. He got hold of Eyeway’s toll-free number from Just Dial. Shakir was not confident enough to reach out to our Helpdesk on his own. Hence, our counselor interacted with Adil to understand his challenges and requirements. On identifying Shakir’s needs, the Eyeway counselor suggested him to enroll in Blind Relief Association, New Delhi for ‘Multi-Skill Training’. It is a one-year programme designed for visually impaired between the age of 18 to 35 who have either missed out on formal education or are wanting to acquire a variety of skills to gain some employment or become self-employed. Our counselor further connected them with the concerned authorities for additional information on the programme.

On 02nd July 2018, Shakir started his training in Blind Relief Association as suggested by Eyeway. Unfortunately, due to his complete absence of etiquette and personal hygiene, he was prevented from attending the training. Eyeway understood that it would be unfair for the other candidates and would hamper their learning. As an organization, it is impossible to take full ownership of Shakir’s conduct. It is the responsibility of the family to teach him the decorum of the outside world and take note of his hygiene. Proper grooming and appearance are not only important for a good health but lack of these may also lead to poor image among your colleagues and may interfere with your chances of availing real opportunities.  Our counselors conveyed the same to Adil and encouraged him to help his brother in improving his basic etiquettes and persuaded Shakir to again join the training in the next batch.