A case of lost identity

Blind by birth, 20 year old Ali (name changed) was born in Bihar. When Ali was 5 years old, his parents who worked as daily wage laborers came to Mumbai looking for better prospects. While they couldn’t muster enough to make ends meet, they managed to admit Ali into Victoria Memorial School for the Blind (VMSB) where his boarding, lodging and education were taken care of. Ali’s parents then returned to Bihar.

Ali grew up at VMSB, learnt Marathi from an early age and completed his education up till Class X. Since VMSB does not offer education post Class X, Ali applied and got admission into Mumbai’s Wilson College. Up until now Ali led a sheltered, well provided for life in the campus of VMSB.  But now he had to step out and find himself an accommodation so he could continue his education at Wilson College. He struggled to find a hostel accommodation. Wilson College turned him down and so did several other government hostels in Mumbai.

When he contacted Eyeway to seek help, we understood the reason behind the denial of hostel accommodation to be the fact that he didn’t have a Maharashtra Domicile Certificate. All state government hostels required him to produce proof that he was a resident of Maharashtra. Ali obviously had no way of proving it because he was born in Bihar and did not have any permanent address in Mumbai. Eyeway counselor spoke to the warden at government hostel in Worli and it was made clear that Ali needed to furnish a Domicile Certificate as well as a Maharashtra Caste Certificate to get admission.  Another option was to look for a PG accommodation but that too has its challenges. Blind people tend to face difficulty in getting one and it’s also more expensive as compared to a government hostel facility.

Ali was then advised to follow the official procedure to obtain the required certificates. But since this process could take its own course and time and Ali needed an immediate solution to continue Class XI studies at Wilson College, we approached the authorities in charge at VMSB. This is when we learnt that VMSB had a similar case in the past and they agreed to provide temporary accommodation to Ali for a few months. VMSB also agreed to help Ali look for a private hostel accommodation.

Ali’s problems are manifold. He is blind. He is alone in the city. He comes from a weak economic background. In order to stay in Mumbai and continue his education here, he needs a permanent solution. Eyeway is determined to help Ali and has motivated him to follow the matter through in attaining a Domicile Certificate.