Eyeway Stories

Shedding Ignorance!

Sixty-three-year-old Shankardas was born sighted to a middle-income family in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. He started losing his vision when he was studying in Class 7. And soon he became totally blind, finding it extremely difficult to continue with his education.

His family was not aware of special schools for blind students and the surrounding community also proved to be discouraging. Shankardas was told that even educated sighted people remain jobless and given his blindness, there was no chance for him to have a career.

He sat hopelessly confined in his home for many years before he found out about vocational training centers for persons with vision impairment. He acquired mobility skills, and other vocational skills like wire chair making, candle making et cetera.

After getting suitable trained, Shankardas managed to get a job at the Allahabad High Court on a mechanical post. He worked there for 35 years until his retirement in 2019. All these years, he had a bank account with the State Bank of India inside the court premises and he would walk to the branch to withdraw money or avail any other service.

Once he retired from the job, it was a tedious exercise for him to visit the bank specially. A few months earlier, he heard a radio programme by Eyeway where he learned that blind people like other citizens have the right to avail internet banking, debit card, credit card and all other financial services.

He then visited his SBI branch and asked for an ATM card, but the bank officials denied. Then he called the Eyeway Helpdesk to share how he was refused a debit card because the bank didn’t feel he could securely carry out his financial transactions. The counselor once again informed and assured him of his rights.

Shankardas was advised to submit an ATM card application along with the RBI guidelines which state that no discrimination can be meted out on grounds of blindness. The bank has accepted his application and the case is under process.

For majority of his life, Shankardas was ignorant of possibilities, rights, and the means to carry out day to day affairs. After listening to the radio programme and establishing a connect with the Eyeway counselor, he feels reassured. He doesn’t have to unnecessarily struggle for everything just because he lost his eyesight.

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