Eyeway Stories

Breaking Out of the Cocoon

Twenty-four-year-old Shaukat Ahmed Dar was born blind in Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir. He has three sisters who are happily married, and a brother who runs a grocery shop for a living. His father retired from a government job.

What’s utterly shocking is that Shaukat has lived over twenty years of his life confined within the four walls of his home. He has never seen the insides of a classroom because he never received any education due to his disability.

Often parents assume that children with blindness cannot study, play, or engage in any social activity. Their vision impairment is translated into lifetime dependency. Thousands of blind children remain uneducated and unemployed for this reason.

Shaukat felt isolated and cut off from anything that his sighted peers engaged in. When he contacted the Eyeway Helpdesk in Srinagar, he was quite depressed and hopeless about his life. The counselor engaged with him over a series of phone calls, listening to him, understanding the challenges, and advising course correction.

The Eyeway counsellor explained to Shaukat how blind people like him can lead a happy life and access various opportunities of education and employment. All they need is the right training to function on their own. There are a lot of assistive tools and technology available today which can help him read and write as well as navigate the world, both physically and digitally.

Shaukat followed Eyeway’s advise and has recently secured admission in a special institution for the blind in Amritsar. He is all geared up to enrol for Class X through open schooling in July this year. Staying at the institute, Shaukat will have access to teachers and study material which will enable him to complete his education. Living away from home, he will also learn how to cope with the outside world and function independently.

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