Showing the right way forward

Salman Shaikh is a 27-year-old living in the Dahisar suburb of Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was studying in a mainstream school but when he reached Class 10, Salman’s vision started to deteriorate due to an eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. Despite many challenges, he managed to complete his Class 10 from the same school. Vision impairment was new to Salman and now a teenager he needed reorientation in order to move around independently. But since he lacked knowledge of how to acquire those skills, he ended up being escorted to school daily.

In addition, the school had no awareness on how to address the needs of a visually impaired student including, providing him with accessible study material or a scribe to write his exams. This resulted in Salman dropping out of school without completing his higher secondary education.

After 8 years of sitting idle at home, he came to know about a rehabilitation program at National Association for the Blind (NAB), Mumbai and he enrolled for the same. At NAB, he heard about Eyeway and contacted the Helpdesk to seek information on employment opportunities available for him.  Through his conversation with the counselor, Salman understood that most jobs required had a minimum eligibility criteria of Class 12. Therefore, he was counseled to complete his education through open schooling. He was apprised of various organizations that could help with providing accessible study material as and when required.

To further address his employability issue, Eyeway recommended him to acquire useful skills along with desired certifications. To become eligible for computer based jobs, he needs a Maharashtra State Certificate in Information Technology (MSCIT), which the counselor advised him to pursue at The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind (VMSB) in Tardeo, Mumbai.

But despite having undergone mobility training, Salman didn’t feel very confident of traveling from his home to Mumbai daily to pursue the suggested courses. So in order to avail free accommodation, the counselor convinced Salman to enroll in a one-year stenography programme at NAB Mumbai. Once he starts off at NAB, Salman will apply for the MSCIT course at VMSB where he will also pursue typing in English and Hindi. Meanwhile Salman has started taking online English speaking classes offered by Desai Foundation for Change.

From wasting eight precious sitting hopelessly at home, to restarting his education and jobs-based training, Salman is looking forward to become employable in the next one year.