Sanjog Kumawat

In mid July 2012 we received a call from Dr. Bharti Kumawat of Surat regarding her 18 year old son Sanjog Kumawat. The son of doctor parents had been a bright student and was doing very well at a private CBSE school till 2011. At the time he was preparing for competitive exams in order to study medicine after class 12th.

Since birth Sanjog could see only out of his left eye due to retinopathy of prematurity, this was  however enough for him to function independently. In class 11th he suffered retinal detachment in his functional eye, and consequently he was left with eyesight that could read font size as big as the name on a newspaper masthead that too from a very close distance.

After almost a year’s break in 2012, when his parents started exploring possibilities for continuing his education, the school principal raised concerns regarding how Sanjog would continue his school work as he was not able to see enough.  Since the school principal had no information on educating a blind child, nor was he interested in finding out, he simply asked the parents to shift Sanjog to a special school for blind children. While exploring the internet for information on educating a blind child, Dr. Bharti landed on our website – from where she got our Helpdesk number and called us.

We told her about the notifications by CBSE to all its affiliated schools, which clearly stated that they cannot deny admission to children with vision impairment. We also provided needed support for Sanjog’s studies and examination including science and maths. For him to adapt to the revised situation, we also educated Bharti about the newer ways of reading and writing using computers with screen reading and magnification softwares like JAWS, NVDA and Zoomex. We also apprised her of study material in accessible format including audio books, Braille books, E-text books. We along with NGOs like NAB, Saksham in Delhi and XRCVC in Mumbai, then put her in touch with a class 12 CBSE science student from Delhi who is totally blind and doing quite well in school.

The principal of the school was still resistant in spite of clear directions by CBSE. With the efforts of Dr. Sam Tarapurwala from XRCVC-Mumbai to whom we referred Sanjog’s case, Sanjog could rejoin his school in class 11th once again.

The timely intervention helped Sanjog move on in life without wasting too much time. He learnt to use screen reader enabled computer and took all his exams including class 12th CBSE board exams on his laptop and scored 76%.

However the road to board exams was littered with another set of challenges. CBSE had earlier refused to let Sanjog appear for his board exams in his examination centre at Surat. A 2012 CBSE circular stated that visually impaired candidates using laptop had to take their exams at a CBSE regional centre, which in this case was Ajmer. Since Ajmer was quite far from Surat, both his school and the Eyeway helpdesk rallied around him, and a talk with the CBSE heads by Eyeway meant that he could finally sit for his exams in Surat.

Dr. Bharti cheerfully acknowledged and thanked Eyeway as being a great help in showing her a ray of hope for her child’s future. She acknowledged that the right kind of information and guidance at the right time helped her to look beyond despair and take swift action.

Sunjog is not a confident outgoing boy. After scoring 76% in 12th he went on to attend a rehabilitation course from NIVH Dehradun which was suggested by one of our referrals. The earlier home-bound Sunjog now travelled alone from Dehradun to Mumbai to take admission at Saint Xaviers College for his graduation. With our time-to-time motivation and guidance coupled with the family’s own efforts Sunjog is now a happy young man who has many dreams and aspirations for his future. His mother has also gained confidence from this experience and doesn’t ever feel that her child is all that different from sighted children.