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Need for Social Inclusion

Forty-one-year-old Aparna Singhal lives in Noida, Uttar Pradesh and works as a Software Engineer with a multinational company. She is married and has a child. Aparna started facing sight problems some years ago and she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye condition that results is gradual vision loss.
This sudden deterioration of her eyesight impacted her functioning at work and home. She began to lose her self-confidence. She had to reacquaint herself with the space inside her home as well as in the office. At work, she tried using some aids like magnifier and high contrast settings to see the screen. She even learned to use computers with screen reading software.
It took her some time to accept her new state of being, and the new ways of working but she adapted well. Her employers were supportive in offering her a role that was more suitable to her condition. While earlier her company had to outsource jobs related to accessibility, Aparna became their new in-house accessibility champion.
Slowly, Aparna found her comfort at home and in the office. But she missed the opportunity and ability to socialize. The thought of stepping into a new/unknown territory scared her, and therefore her social activities were reduced to zero.
She reached out to the Eyeway Helpdesk to find out if people with vision impairment could access any forms of entertainment, travel et cetera. The Eyeway counselor assured Aparna that she could do almost anything, with a little bit of training in mobility skills. She could independently step out for dinner, or a movie, or travel to a tourist spot.
The counselor advised against always relying on an escort to accompany her, and instead seeking help wherever needed. For instance, she could seek help at the ticketing counter of a movie theatre if required. As for tickets, she could book online.
Aparna felt a renewed sense of vigour and decided to explore different spaces. She is now able to go out for movies on her own and is planning a trip abroad. The Eyeway counselor put her in touch with visually impaired people who travel within and out of the country for work or leisure.
They offered her practical tips toplan her trips as well as be aware of what to expect during such excursions. We often tend to overlook the need for social inclusion for persons with blindness. We assume that they don’t watch movies or go out with friends. But sighted or blind, we are people with the same needs. 
Team Eyeway

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