The journey from hopelessness to helpfulness

Thirty-one-year-old Robert D’Souza is a resident of Mumbai, Maharashtra. At the tender age of three, he lost his father, following which he and his mother became dependent on the extended family. The hope that kept them going was one day Robert will grow up and be able to provide, just like his father.

But when he was in Class 9, he started experiencing vision loss. Robert was diagnosed with an eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa which causes gradual loss of sight. Shattered with this discovery, the mother-son duo chased all kinds of doctors, only to find out that the eye condition was irreversible. He somehow managed to complete Class X and then dropped out.

During all the medical shopping, no one guided the family about rehabilitation or possibilities of living life with blindness. Worried about their financial state, he took up odd jobs like, delivering tiffin, working as a bouncer in a club and so on. Nothing that was permanent though.

Recently, he watched a video on YouTube which led him to call the Eyeway Helpdesk in Maharashtra. On seeking employment options, the counselor informed Robert about the necessary skills to work as a visually impaired person. This would include mobility skills to navigate physical spaces independently, as well as reading and writing skills using a computer.

He was then guided to join computer classes at The Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, where he could learn to use screen reading software. When he visited the center, the counselor also gave him practical tips on mobility and encouraged to practice on his own.

Once he started the course, interacting with other visually impaired folk, Robert realized that totally blind people faced bigger challenges than him. With his remaining eye sight, he was able to guide some of his class fellows during the training and while traveling. This immediately boosted his confidence and led to a complete transformation in his mindset. From ‘I cannot do anything’, he went on to realize, ‘I can help others with something’.

Robert was advised to pursue a job opening of a customer care executive with Sarthak Trust. His Class X certification made him eligible for the vacancy. However, the counselor encouraged him to complete his education simultaneously via Open Schooling, in order to find better jobs in the future.

Despite wasting prime years of his youth, he can start afresh with the new acquired skills. Eyeway helped him see the importance of self-belief and exploring solutions.