Seeking a dignified life

26-year-old Ramesh Kotti was born to a poor family in Mumbai, Maharashtra. Losing vision at an early age of 11, his parents thought of him as a burden. Since his father was an alcoholic, his mother decided to leave and remarry but this only made things worse for Ramesh as his new family treated him as a liability. He was forced to beg on the streets by his mother and when he denied to do so he was thrown out of the house.

For the last 15 years the boy has been living on railway platforms fending for himself, exposed to daily dangers of street life. He would ask for help from every passing by commuter wanting to be put into a special school. Taking pity on him, one day a local woman took him home. She then contacted the Eyeway Helpdesk in Victoria Memorial School for the Blind, Mumbai seeking help for Ramesh.

With so many years gone by without any education or any form of rehabilitation, the Eyeway team realized an immediate need for him to learn skills for independent living. The counselor contacted an organization in Vangani, Maharashtra, a community of blind people. Living with fellow visually impaired people and undergoing a programme would help him reorient and get back to leading a normal life. However, the challenges did not end here for Ramesh. Before he could formally join a training programme, he had a skin disease to be taken care of, for which Eyeway put him in touch with an NGO that helped him get the required medical treatment free of cost.

Since Ramesh has been living on the streets and has no proof of identity to avail any benefits or provisions provided by the government for persons with disabilities, he needs proper documentation. Despite the heartless treatment meted out by his family and losing precious prime years of his life, he is still keen to start afresh in a dignified manner. Eyeway will continue to look for the best possible solutions for Ramesh.