Paving the road to a secure destination

Ravi from Harugeri village, Karnataka is now 25 years old, a decade and a half since he last went to school. He was born visually impaired (VI), like his elder sister, the eldest brother being the only sighted among the siblings. Born into a financially weak family, to illiterate parents dependent on manual labor for a living, life was full of struggles for the siblings.

He and his sister who are visually impaired suffered the most. For the parents having no knowledge about living life with blindness, the two blind children were a liability. The sighted brother and the VI sister were not given any education. His sister helped the mother in domestic work and the sighted brother spent his days aimlessly. On the advice of a family relative, young Ravi was put in a nearby village school. By the time Ravi was in 5th standard, both father and mother died from health-related ailments. With that, his education also stopped.
His elder brother took responsibility, though not whole-heartedly to look after the siblings and provide for them. He started a small shop, which became the only source of income for the family. While the elder brother ran the shop, his sister took care of the household chores like cooking, cleaning etc. and Ravi sat at home helpless. His brother was harsh towards the blind siblings due to his own lack of awareness. Ravi regretted not going to school, he wanted to cut his dependency on his siblings, he wanted to be employed, and he wanted his sister to be empowered. He always felt there is a dignified way to live his life but never knew how to achieve it.
After few years at home, he joined a local NGO and learned some basic skills like reading, Braille etc. though he didn’t get any proper guidance for the future. After those few months, he again became idle and lonely. He always thought about going back to school but didn’t know how. One of his friends in the village told him about ‘Namma Vaani’ a social media platform for persons with disabilities. From ‘Namma Vaani’ platform, he got to know to about Eyeway Helpdesk and immediately connected with our helpline counselor in April 2018. He was curious and nervous. He precisely wanted to know about opportunities to restart his education. He also shared his concerns and regrets with the counselor.

Eyeway counselor conveyed to him that education is possible, and with hard work and a strong will he could put all his struggles to rest. As a first step, the counselor asked him to finish his class 10th exams through open schooling. For that, he was put in touch with a local NGO called Jagruti Trust which could help him to enroll in open school. He was also informed about the rehabilitation programs and computer training available at Enable India, Bangalore. He was informed about the dignified life possible for visually impaired individuals through education, employment, training and rehabilitation which could all be acquired gradually. Eyeway counselor also asked Ravi to inspire his sister who is now 30 years old and has never been to school, to make use of the opportunities available for visually impaired in India.

Ravi is now happy and confident, he is preparing to restart his education and the thought itself fills him with hope.