Nineteen-year-old Pawan Kumar hails from Tumakuru city in Karnataka. He was born with a generative eye disorder, Retinitis Pigmentosa that resulted in sight loss from an early age.
Pawan’s parents were clueless about raising a child with vision impairment, so he spent most of his childhood confined alone at home. Looking at kids his age going to school, Pawan wished he could join them. When he turned seventeen, a relative helped him enroll directly into Class X in a government school in Bangalore. Around 70 kms away from home, Pawan was housed in a hostel for blind boys. This turn of events introduced the young boy to reading and writing in Braille. He also acquired a smartphone and learned to use it with the built-in accessibility feature called TalkBack.
These new developments boosted Pawan’s confidence and he passed Class X with a distinction. He then enrolled into a regular college in a town nearby. But the daily commute was a financial burden on the family. When he sought advice from his friends, Pawan was redirected to the Eyeway Helpdesk.
The Eyeway counselor apprised him of the government provisions for persons with vision impairment. These include concessions for travel by bus and train. Pawan was also taken through the step by step application process to acquire a free bus pass and avail railway concession for long distance travel. This enabled him to commute free of cost or at half the total cost.
The Helpdesk counselor also connected him to Mitra Jyothi, an organization in Bangalore that helps in providing accessible study material for persons with blindness. Pawan also subscribed to Eyeway’s WhatsApp messaging service to stay informed about job vacancies, news alerts, training programs, technology innovations and more. Alongside education, he has applied for a few government jobs.
He may have started his journey towards independent living a little late, but Pawan is ambitiously chasing his dreams of becoming an active and contributing member of his family.