Defying the odds

21-year-old Sandeep Kumar was born blind in Samastipur, Bihar. He struggled against all odds to study till Class 8. Schools in his district denied him admission and teachers didn’t want to waste their time on a blind boy. He was fourteen when he enrolled in a Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan camp, where he learnt to read and write in Braille. Despite his interest and hard work, his progress was stunted by lack of awareness and scant resources.

His family wanted him to marry a sighted girl who could look after him. When he called to seek Eyeway’s help in the matter, it was evident that he wasn’t convinced. He knew marriage entailed responsibility and he wasn’t well-equipped.

Sandeep had taken initiative to educate himself using his knowledge of Braille. He even learnt to use a smartphone exploring the built-in TalkBack feature. But he didn’t know of a proper way forward and that’s where Eyeway helped him.

Learning about possibilities of education and employment, Sandeep persuaded his family to put the marriage plans on hold until he becomes ‘able’.

Today, Sandeep is in Delhi, all set to start a short-term course in learning computers using screen reading software. He has enrolled to appear for Class 10 through open schooling. And he plans to join a one-year multi-skill training programme in January 2020.

Sandeep wants to bring about a change in the way things stand back home. He doesn’t want other blind kids to suffer at the hands of mainstream institutions in the absence of special educators. He wants to use his acquired knowledge and skills in imparting better education.

As for marriage, that will happen in due course once he finds someone who can respect him for his abilities.