Regaining Independence

47-year-old Neetu Garg is a resident of Hapur, Uttar Pradesh. She was born without any sign of visual impairment and spent the first few years of her life like any other child. However, at the age of six, Neetu started facing challenges with her vision. On one particular day, Neetu found it difficult to play with her friends and rushed back home when she realised that she was losing her vision. She did not tell anyone about her problem but her behavioural changes came to her mother’s notice. Her mother then took her to a private clinic where she was diagnosed with Optical Atrophy, which is a condition that usually begins in childhood. The optic nerve is affected causing a slow deterioration of vision. She visited various hospitals with the hope that her eyesight can be restored but her efforts were futile.

While appearing for Class 10 Board exams, she was assigned to another centre to write her papers. During the exam, she faced difficulty in writing due to her limited vision and was suggested by the examiner to use a scribe for the remaining exams. But her family’s lack of confidence in her writing the exam with the help of a scribe and this resulted in her discontinuing further education. Neetu then decided to learn music for 5 years rather than sit idle at home.

She was then advised by one of her acquaintances to enrol at the National Association for the Blind (NAB), Hauz Khas to get some training. At the organisation, she was given a general training on computer, handicraft, massage, home science, English speaking skills and reading Braille. Along with this, she resumed her education from Class 10 in 2017 and is now studying in Class 12.

The Eyeway counselors at NAB have been regularly engaged with conducting training courses for the visually impaired and it was at the NASSCOM-NDLM certificate course in Hauz Khas where Neetu came in contact with our counselor. Here, she was taught how to use various mobile applications such as how to book an OLA or an UBER Cab, listen to songs on YouTube, navigate with Google Maps and Nearby Explorer, read using Smart Lens, socialise through apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp, use the mobile calculator and how to download songs and accessible study materials. This training paved way for her independence and motivated her to pursue higher studies.

Currently, she is enrolled in an advanced computer course at NAB, R K Puram under the supervision of the Eyeway counselors. She conveyed her aspiration to start a business as a masseur. On hearing this, the counselor apprised her on the various self-employment loans available under the MUDRA scheme that would financially aid her on this endeavour.