The power of positive thinking

32 year old Bhawana visited NAB Eyeway from Panipat, Haryana in July 2018. She is visually impaired with very low vision and vague light and colour perception. She has gone through difficult times growing up and is still wading in muddy waters. Her determination is her best quality although her circumstances are highly challenging. She believes she will surmount the challenges in the future like how she did it growing up.

Since identifying her vision problem for the first time at a very young age, the challenges to living a normal life have followed her and abounded year after year. Her family took her for treatment to many hospitals across Panipat, Chandigarh, and Delhi but had to ultimately accept her deteriorating vision. But she continued schooling with other sighted students in the mainstream school where she was already enrolled. Gradually the challenges of sight loss became visible like her having to sit at the front desk in the classroom, reading and writing problems, no accessible study materials, etc. Her family was also unaware on helping her live with blindness. All they could do was to support her studies by reading out her study material for her, give her some physical support and security, and anticipate for the best to come out of it all. Bhawana also sought the help of her friends at school to understand and study her lessons. Neither she nor the school authorities were aware of any accessible study materials and her education progressed without even her knowing or availing the services of a scribe to give her exams at any point. And she also didn’t know Braille leaving that option out in making her education easier. But with all the persisting challenges and deteriorating vision, she studied ahead overcoming all the negative thoughts of dropping-out from school. With the help of friends, teachers and family she completed her graduation.

And in 2012 she got married to a sighted man after mutual understanding of the circumstances. But the marriage didn’t stand the test of times. The relationship soured after some time and in four years Bhawana got the divorce. Humiliation at the hands of her husband whose attitude took a U-turn after the marriage was the chief reason for divorce. She faced verbal abuse, mental agony and fear for her child’s future when she became pregnant due to the ill-treatment. All these difficulties led her to extricate her relationship with her husband and family. Now with the divorce and her infant child, life had gone much downhill, depression and anxiety crept into her life. She faced challenges as a VI because she didn’t have the adequate training or skills to work as a VI. But she mustered confidence, not wanting to give up, enrolled herself in a B.Ed program. After successfully completing it, she also got employed in a private school. But she had to give up her job after a year facing many challenges in teaching small children. This resulted in her life getting worse with depleting finances, dependence on others for a living especially her brother and family, uncertainty about the future etc. During this period she got to know about NAB Eyeway from a family friend and visited the Eyeway counselor in July 2018. Her immediate issues were education, employment and financial independence and with her B.Ed training, teaching job was always in her plans. But she was lacking appropriate training and skills for her independence.

In view of helping her gain employment and achieving independence in it, Eyeway counselor suggested the three months computer training program in National Association for the Blind (NAB), Delhi. This would help her gather accessible study material and manage it with ease. Also, information about accessible technology like Digital Library, audio-books, mobile phone software etc. was also suggested to her. In view of her qualification and drive for self-independence, options for several government jobs and various competitive exams were also provided. Bhawana wasted no time in enrolling into the computer training program and she is confident of a positive change to her life.