Planting optimism to reap success

Born into a seven-member family, Amit Tyagi from Hapur, Uttar Pradesh had a difficult time growing up. Initially, it was out of poverty, his parents who were manual laborers struggled to provide for the five children. He is the eldest among the siblings, ambitious and determined to make the best of his opportunities. Though the parents were poor and illiterate, they sent all the five children to the nearby village school. But it was for the eldest Amit, expected to take up the responsibility of the family on his shoulders, who had to face a major challenge in life – ‘late blindness’.

He started losing vision late in 2010 when he was pursuing his 12th standard. He was detected with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) the same year by doctors at AIIMS. With that, his education halted. Soon after his vision impairment was detected, he began undergoing treatment in AIIMS, New Delhi trying to regain his vision. But in 2016, after six years of relentless treatment, the doctors declared that his vision was irreversible. This left him in shock; it was a moment that shattered all his dreams – to get educated, to earn a livelihood, to provide for his parents and siblings, to save his family from poverty and a lot more. After he realized that his eyesight couldn’t be restored, he resigned to a state devoid of hope and awareness about the future. This mental state led him to spend the next two years idle, confined indoors. After he happened to hear the Eyeway promos on the radio, he contacted our Helpdesk in April 2018. He was in a muddled state of mind, not knowing where to begin his conversation. Now at 27 years of age and having no experience of the world outside for almost a decade after his 12th standard, he had absolutely no knowledge of living a life with blindness. He asked a flurry of questions on how to live ahead, on pursuing education, gaining employment, accessibility, opportunities he can avail etc. Having the experience of handling many clients who have contracted late blindness, our counselor suggested Amit to begin with rehabilitation programmes and after that technology-related training like computer, screen readers and other software. The counselor also suggested some institutions like National Association for the Blind (NAB), Faridabad, Blind Relief Association, New Delhi etc. where he could avail all these training facilities.

Eyeway gets many clients who turn blind late in their lives and who can’t handle this immediate change it brings. Some plummet into depression, some lose hope and some remain misinformed for the rest of their lives. In such cases, the most significant step taken by Eyeway is to inspire confidence and provide them with the diverse opportunities available to them. Sometimes this approach brings immediate changes and at times, it stalls. But the kernel of the idea remains the same: Living a dignified and independent life with blindness is possible.

On follow-up, Amit Tyagi sounded positive and he would be joining National Association for the Blind, Faridabad for rehabilitation training in May.