Being blind is a cruel predicament, especially when the rest of the seeing world does not realize anything about a world with no light. Tiffany Maria Brar is a twenty-four year old volunteer currently enrolled at the IISE (Indian Institute of Social Entrepreneurs), Vellayani, who is determined to bring a change into the dark lives of others entrapped in the bustle of the ‘seeing’ world.
Tiffany Maria Brar was born blind and understands the desperate need to educate those like her with the will and means to survive in a busy world, which has no time to stop and sympathize with their true needs and desires.
“Blind people are usually subjected to over protection but receive low emotional support. If there is a blind person in the family, then he or she is treated by the rest of the family members in a very 'closed' manner, to the extent that the person isn't allowed to do anything at all by himself or herself, which is the worse thing you could do to someone who actually needs to adapt and survive on their own,” says Tiffany, in an interview with Yentha
As a result of the over protective attitude of those around them, the blind are usually helpless without any one around and are forced to seek help for the most basic things for the rest of their lives. 'Jyothirgamaya', the mobile school for the blind, is an initiative undertaken by the social trust 'Braille Without Borders', dedicated to the education of blind people.
“The idea of a mobile school was conceived by Braille Without Borders and I was invited to be involved in it; something I consider as an honor,” says Tiffany.
'Jyothirgamaya' is a three wheeled vehicle, equipped with a computer and printer facility powered through solar energy, with a universal braille kit as well.
“If someone visually handicapped need the services of Jyothrigamaya, they have to contact the IISE office and make an appointment. We do not offer our services during week days as we do not want to interfere with any other specialized education that the person might be getting.”
The education that's imparted through 'Jyothirgamaya' is, in Tiffany's own words, 'meant to indulge the blind in creative and productive processes to get ahead in life'.
“By nature, the blind are considered deserving only of support and no effort is made to develop their skills. Through Jyothirgamaya, they are taught about the braille language and also other essential skills necessary to get along with their day-to-day routines in an independent manner.”
Tiffany has completed her B.Ed in Special Education and is working as a receptionist and studying Project Management and Speech Training at IISE. She sees the opportunity of working for the betterment of so many lives as both challenging and rewarding.
“People can become blind in many ways; there are people who are blind by birth; for some, accident results in blindness and for others it may be because of some diseases. With each case you are dealing with people who are vastly varied in their emotional capabilities and learning capacities. There are many elderly people who are beyond the age to learn any complex language scripts or motions; for them, the education is limited to learning just the basic living skills.”
Jyotirgamaya, the mobile school for the blind, was flagged off from the IISE campus by the Minister for Panchayath and Social Welfare, M K Muneer, on Monday, July 23. Just as the light leads the way for a world in darkness, the mobile school intends to bring out the visually handicapped to a world brimming with a variety of opportunities. And for Tiffany, the opportunity is not just rewarding, but a learning experience for the bigger goals she has set for life.