Rekindling hope

Ashok Mishra from Mumbai suffered from the rare Stevens-Johnson syndrome leading to vision loss at the age of 29.  Born into a lower middle class family, he dropped out of school after Class 9 to support his family financially. Having worked in various businesses before, Ashok settled for a private company job and was engaged to be married.

Unfortunately, besides losing his vision he lost his job and along with it his dreams of living an independent life. However, Ashok still went ahead with his marriage plans and had a child soon after. He was dependent on his older brother to provide for his family.

Ashok called Eyeway Helpdesk to ask about government schemes for financial assistance and also enquired for jobs that his wife would be eligible for. On further conversation, the Eyeway counsellor realized that Ashok had lost all hopes of living a dignified life without his vision and felt a sense of entitlement. He was in need of more than just financial assistance. It was important to counsel him and show him possibilities of living life with blindness by sharing real life examples of successful visually impaired people. To help him get back on his feet, the counsellor took a step by step approach with him. He was first guided on how to apply for Unique Disability ID Card (UDID) to help him access government provisions. Next he was put in touch with a mobility trainer at National Association for the Blind to receive guidance on mobility and usage of assistive technology like mobile phones with talkback feature and computers with screen reading software. This would help Ashok in the long run to become employable.

Ashok was also apprised on various other business ideas such as setting up of grocery or Xerox shops for additional income. Based on his past job experience, the counsellor is also looking for job opportunities for him.

From being completely unaware about possibilities, Ashok has now taken important steps suggested by the counsellor to start his life all over again.