Empowering an aspirant

Employment for visually impaired (VI) is still a challenge even after the government taking adequate steps to identify jobs for persons with disabilities (PwDs), exhort private sector to employ PwDs, and after bringing equality in appointments and promotions. On one hand, VIs experience information asymmetry of various government provisions for them and on the other, outright rejection by ignorant and unaware authorities.

Sainudeen is 26 years old and from Malappuram district of Kerala. He is visually impaired in one eye enucleated at the age of 4 years. He has full vision in the right eye. He has done post-graduation in History through distance learning. Hailing from a conservative family, neither he nor anyone in his family has much knowledge about vision impairment. Also, being brought up in a highly religious household with strong beliefs; religious interpretations prevail in the household. Thus, no external support to empower Sainudeen was ever sought in his lifetime before meeting with the Eyeway counselor. He hails from a middle class average income family and his father is employed in the local mosque. He is the only earning member in the family. His brothers are studying and one sister is married. His highly religious family background was the biggest challenge to counsel him. He was never ready to listen to any helpful rational explanation to improve his life. This limited the counseling to his employment and marriage, the only two things he was ready to discuss.

Sainudeen has been a prosthetic-eye user since removal of his damaged eye from his very childhood. Now he has been upgrading his prosthetic eye to a more customized eye in Little Flower Hospital which brought him in touch with Eyeway. His vision impairment is certified as 40% and above and he is a recipient of disability pension. Following the tradition in his family he is looking to find a job soon and get married. The main challenge he faces is one of seeking employment. He appears to have internalized all other aspects of his life. And the family seemed to have already chosen life path where no other advice matters to them. He seemed rigid on just knowing about the employment opportunities, both public and private sector. Information on job opportunities was duly shared with Sainudeen and in addition, he was informed about the provision of a free computer through Panchayat office and some assistive devices that could come in handy for him.

On a follow-up with Sainudeen, the counselor could understand that he has registered his resume with the job consultancies and he’s also received some interview calls. Sainudeen expressed his happiness in finding him job opportunities and for the services offered by Eyeway. This being the first interaction, Eyeway knows what it would take to make Sainudeen more cooperative is periodic follow-ups. Having built significant trust, Eyeway expects to address the other issues in Sainudeen’s life gradually.