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Despite all odds: Blindness, Poverty, Gender

Living with a disability is not easy in a country where a large section of the population still looks at it as an outcome of bad karma. And being a person with disability born to a poor household makes it harder. Now imagine a blind girl from a low income family, the stigma scales greater heights.
The Eyeway Helpdesk receives fewer calls from women with blindness as they are doubly marginalized in the largely patriarchal Indian society. This story recounts the struggles of two visually impaired girls from Maharashtra, both aspiring for financial independence.
Forty-year-old Suman Gupta lives in Mumbai in a family of 9, all dependent on a single earning member. Suman partially lost her vision at the age of sixteen when she suffered from a brain tumour. She somehow completed her Graduation in Arts but was confined to her home afterwards for the next ten years.

When she realized the need to support her brother, she contacted Eyeway.
Twenty-four-year-old Pragati Shelke hails from Raigad. Her father is a daily wage labourer and her mother is a homemaker. Both Pragati and her younger brother are totally blind. She is currently pursuing her graduation from a college in Thane, and she resides in a hostel which offers free accommodation. Her brother too is studying and living in a hostel. Some of their financial needs are fulfilled by a relative.
To build a prosperous future, Pragati required computer training which will open avenues of education and employment for her. Similarly, to be gainfully employed, Suman needed computer literacy and communication skills.
When both these girls reached out to Eyeway for help, the counselor tried to look for suitable training programs for them. The Maharashtra State Certificate of Information Technology or MSCIT is a course that equips individuals with the necessary computer skills using screen reading software.
This course is priced at INR 2500 which neither Suman nor Pragati could afford to pay for. So, the Maharashtra Helpdesk counselor began her quest to find donors who could sponsor their training.
Luckily the counsellor identified and approached the Giants Group of Mumbai Pearls, which is a part of the GIANTS Welfare Foundation, to seek donation to enable the two visually impaired girls to join the training.
The answer was in the affirmative, and we are happy to report that Suman and Pragati have successfully enrolled in the MSCIT program at the Victoria Memorial School for the Blind in Mumbai.
Team Eyeway

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