Stoking a spark to a glow

When Sachin Bansal from Madhya Pradesh gave up his schooling after 9th standard for a laborer’s job in a factory, he only thought of saving his family from severe financial troubles. For many youngsters in India, an early employment is more important than schooling because our education system doesn’t guarantee employment. He toiled for many years to care for his father, mother and younger brother. But in 2015 he met with an accident and lost his vision completely, leaving Sachin and his family in an irrecoverable shock. They all tried hard to recover his lost vision for the next two to three years, consulting as many doctors as possible. But the reality dawned hard on them during those years, of irreversible blindness, poverty, and utter loss of hope. But somewhere Sachin left a spark aglow.

In 2018 when Sachin contacted Eyeway, he was 24 years old and an individual who had pretty much accepted his blindness. The need for a productive future was already in his mind. He wanted an immediate job and was ready to achieve it by all means.  Knowing that computer training is essential he contacted Eyeway for some viable training recommendations. But since the 12th standard is essential for computer training, the Eyeway counselor suggested workable options like rehabilitation training in National Association for the Blind (NAB), Indore and an opportunity to pursue education in National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). However NAB, Indore denied hostel facility because of his age and Sachin couldn’t pursue that option. Eyeway then suggested two other options in National Institute of Visually Handicapped (NIVH), Dehradun and Blind Relief Association (BRA), New Delhi. This time the counselor contacted these institutions and made sure that there will be ensured admission as well as accommodation. This solution would have allowed Sachin to simultaneously pursue computer training and school education.

Sachin, however, preferred more local solutions in Madhya Pradesh because he wanted to stay close to his family. But many of those didn’t work out due to lack of facilities and future prospects. Thus, he decided to stay with his relatives in Agra and pursue schooling in a special school in Agra, setting aside Eyeway’s suggestions. But this didn’t resolve his problems. The special school in Agra forbade him from attending any training. This school was of the opinion that education and training will not complement each other. When he informed Eyeway about this, the counselor didn’t agree with the view, because for many visually impaired who have lost years of education due to lack of awareness, a twin program of education and training is a proven and optimal solution. To empower people to overcome the challenges of unfinished education, financial problems, and to help find jobs faster such programs have been quite effective. This view is also maintained by many state and national institutions working for the visually impaired people which offer such solutions. Eyeway tried its best to assist Sachin through a quicker and effective plan but his priority to be closer to a family member couldn’t be ignored.

Eyeway sincerely hopes that Sachin will gain more confidence and become more independent in the long-run.