Passion and determination as the drivers

29 year old Pradeep Pandhare contacted Eyeway in June 2018 from Pune, Maharashtra looking for government jobs. Mobility and orientation were challenges for him in his current job as a physiotherapist, and he felt a government job could offer more security and reduce his physical struggles. There were not many opportunities the counselor could suggest for him based on his 12th qualification. But the evident desire to succeed in his voice made the Eyeway counselor curious to know more about him.

Born with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and Myopia, both vision degenerating conditions, growing up was very difficult for Pradeep. His everyday needs, mobility, education, thus a large part of his life was reliant on his family, friends and teachers. He started his education in a mainstream school but gathering notes, understanding lessons, writing exams were all challenges to him. But with the help of his friends and teachers he studied. After 6th standard there was a tremendous loss of vision in his eyes. He endured it all and finished his schooling with the help of friends and family. He joined for his higher secondary education in the science stream. He was confident that if he remains determined he can surmount any challenges. But here one of his professors became very uncooperative insisting that he should change his stream to Arts. Pradeep was adamant to learn science and this didn’t go down well for him. He failed in the subjects, was denied any additional assistance and finally Pradeep gave up his course. This was also because of the unawareness and ignorance on the part of these authorities who tried to decide for him based on their volition, rather than facilitating him with opportunities. This resulted in Pradeep, a bright and hardworking student being forced out of his passion to pursue anything for mere survival. After his schooling ended abruptly, he tried to pursue his education by open schooling but failed to progress. His passion being smothered by the system around left him confused. He was in a position to run with whatever he had at that point but not ready to give up. In 2007 he joined for a diploma program in Naturopathy and Yoga Science and after finishing this course in the next three years he joined for a Lab Technician course which was for a year. Being a highly enterprising individual he was always on the look-out for opportunities. He always thought about getting a job and being independent.

He earned his first job in 2011 as a Medical Laboratory Technician. But he couldn’t sustain this job because his mobility and orientation challenges appeared as obstacles. He had to give up the job but after persisting with its challenges for two and a half years. When employment didn’t work he went back to education and completed his higher secondary school in 2015. In 2016 he joined the National Institute of Naturopathy and completed a government certified course in Massage Therapy and started a new job as a physiotherapist. Also, he got married in 2017. Here is an individual who kept exploring options and whose passions never died out even after the system being hostile to him. Institutions, school and family at a point cornered him but he was never ready to agree that either education or employment was elusive to him. Despite getting married and having a family to look after he persisted with all the challenges of income, job, his mobility, his lack of education etc. to remain hopeful of a better future. But working as a visiting physiotherapist he still faced the challenges of mobility and orientation. These challenges gave him the idea of having a government job which can offer more job security.

On comprehending his issue Eyeway counselor has identified that based on his higher secondary qualification alone an appropriate government job was not possible. Eyeway’s experience with many such individuals looking for opportunities to study and work made Pradeep’s skillset appear lacking. Counselor immediately suggested him to gain some computer training, soft skills training like personality development to start with. Exploring various NHFDC loans with which he can start a physiotherapy clinic which can be a good income resource was also informed to him. He can explore this facility once he has gained some basic skills. Also, information on various job opportunities for visually impaired people was shared with Pradeep, both in private and public and the education criteria, competitive exams, age limits etc. related to it. He can also make use of that information as an alternative in case his interests change.

A large percentage of the youth demography of our country is going wasted because their lives get decided by the systems around them and not by their own merit. Pradeep Pandhare is only one example and Eyeway wishes the best for him.