A visually impaired father seeks out help for his children

A resident of Meerut, 37 year old Mohd Sheikh (name changed) is 60% blind. He suffers from a genetic disorder which has led to his gradual loss of vision right from birth. He dropped out of school after completing Class VIII as it increasingly became difficult for him to cope with his studies given his vision impairment. He was unaware of the aids and resources that could have helped him finish his studies. He now has a job where he works as a bookbinder, earning barely enough to support his wife and three children. Sheikh heard about Eyeway helpline on the radio and decided to call for help.  He shared two major concerns with our counselor. First, he wanted to learn about job options which may enable him to provide for his family better. Second, all his three children suffered from the same genetic disorder, causing similar eye problems. His eldest daughter is 10, second one is 7 and the son who is the youngest is 3. When he spoke to our counselor, Sheikh was extremely worried and concerned about their education.  He didn’t want them to lose out on studies because of blindness as he did.

After giving him a patient hearing, our counselor guided Sheikh with the next steps. We suggested him to consider starting his own bookbinding business. For financial assistance, we advised him to apply for a loan under the National Handicap Finance Development Corporation (NHFDC) scheme. As for his children, we asked him to foremost get proper medical consultation on each of their cases and stay in regular touch with the doctors. We also advised him to get their Disability Certificates made so they could avail appropriate schemes and provisions. We also put him in touch with National Association for the Blind (NAB) in Meerut where all four of them could undergo rehabilitative training which would prepare them to cope with sight loss. In addition, our counselor also shared the links of our TV series, Nazar Ya Nazariya with Sheikh, so they could all watch stories of successful blind people and get inspired and also become aware of the myriad possibilities of living life with blindness.

Following our advice, Sheikh took medical consultation for all three children in a local government hospital. He plans to enroll in the training at NAB soon. He also intends to visit Delhi to meet our Helpdesk team in person and visit AIIMS to get Disability Certificates for his daughters and son.