07 Aug

Jyoti Malik – A Journey of Stride, Struggle and Strength

Jyoti Malik, i Care Info

Jyoti Malik, i Care InfoThis is an inspirational story of a Punjabi Girl from Ludhiana, named Jyoti Malik. She has been suffering from an eye problem related to optic nerves since birth and has 100% vision impairment. Her family came to know about this problem when she was around 5 months old. Initially, Jyoti’s parents took time to accept that such a beautiful eyes were victim of a disease. It was a threshold to a new different world for Jyoti and especially for her family.
After a few years, one day, Jyoti’s mother saw a blind school bus dropping two persons at a bus stop. She, wasting no time, followed those persons and reached their place. After meeting them, she came to know that there is something like blind schools for visually challenged people. It appeared as a ray of hope for the family. Soon Jyoti was admitted to a blind school named ‘VRTC School’. She lived in the school hostel as school was in the other, corner of the city. Jyoti remained in hostel till class 12th. Here, up to class 6th, students were taught all the normal subjects but like in most of the blind schools, after sixth class, students were influenced to go for music. The studies were mostly music oriented.
We all know that life in a hostel is not easy for anyone, and so was the case with this little girl. She not only adapted to this life but also remained a good student throughout. She scored in seventies in both class 10th and 12th. Jyoti was the school head girl when she was in class 12th. Not only this, she even got ‘The Best Student Award’, to her credit. Apart from this, she also did Visharad in Vocal Music. Jyoti was also one of the students who got selected to meet Sri. Abdul Kalam when she was in class sixth.
After schooling, she did her regular graduation from Government College for girls, Ludhiana. Here too, she had to fight for her rights. She wanted to take psychology subject but the teachers disallowed her. Soon, she took her teachers in confidence by scoring good marks in an initial Psychology test. Later, she also won second prize in a Psychology PPT competition. Her journey through these three years was challenging but she overcame every obstacle. And even on her farewell, she was titled ‘The Most Confident Girl.’

Computer and Technology in her Life

There was no computer in her school and at home. Computer came in her life when she was in class 10th. Whenever Jyoti happened to visit her house, she would do experiments on computer. Gradually, she started exploring commands and other features of this ‘featured box’. At that time, there was no screen reader in her computer. After finishing her schooling, Jyoti got to spend more time with this machine. Her constant efforts and curiosity led her to grasp it. During this period, she met a person who told her about screen reader. She took some initial assistance from him and then learnt this software on her own. Gradually, she became so good at computer and talking screen reader that she got independent in her studies and everything a person can do on a computer.
Today, Jyoti is an RJ and Program Manager of Radio Udaan, an online radio station run by visually challenged people. Jyoti has a passion for website designing and has made many websites for different people. Even the website of Radio Udaan is also made, designed and administrated by her. She also guides and assists her friends in computer and software related issues. Because of her never giving up attitude and constant efforts, Jyoti is managing all this along with her Masters in Political Science. ‘My aim is to crack PPSC Exam’, says Jyoti.
Jyoti carries a positive mind and believes in hard work. She has so many hobbies like cooking, exploring softwares, helping her friends etc. Best thing about Jyoti is that she never leaves any opportunity to interact with people. Her determination keeps her going through every situation.
I wrote this inspirational story because it proves how hunger for knowledge, passion for living life to its fullest and never giving up attitude can enable a person to achieve everything he/she wants to accomplish.

10 Jul

Ajay Minocha – ‘A Blend of Positive Vision and Determination’


My motive of writing this article is to bring to your knowledge another inspirational story of an inspiring person named Mr. Ajay Minocha. Here I would start this article with Shakespeare’s words: ‘Life is never easy for those who dream.’ These words somewhere reflect in our story.

Ajay, a boy from Faridabad, was born with severe incurable visual impairment called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). It took him some time to adapt to the turns in his life. However, the constant support and encouragement from friends and family enabled him to believe in himself and in his abilities-a virtue that he values the most. With time, Ajay’s eye-sight went on deteriorating further and presently he is left with around 10% eyesight. Like any other visually impaired person, Ajay’s life has also been full of difficulties and odds but he never let these obstacles come in his way. He completed his primary education in a main stream school which was based in slums. After this, his mother wanted him to move to a school that could provide him with more opportunities and a better holistic education. It was not that easy to get admission in such an institution but he with his persistent hard work got the admission and slowly adapted to the new environment and started taking advantage of all that the school had to offer. Ajay says, “In this journey, my mother always proved to be pillar of strength, supporting me in every possible way.” His hard work, intelligence and good management skills, coupled with his mother’s efforts helped him to emerge as an efficient leader, managing his duty as a `class monitor`. He did his schooling in Hindi medium but later he switched over to English medium. He worked on his English skills and achieved a commendable hold here too!

After completing his school, Ajay started pondering over his skills, interests and various career options. He researched about the facilities and opportunities available for the visually impaired persons and found out that he was indeed meant for management. Soon after getting in touch with the visually impaired people who have excelled in this highly dynamic and competitive corporate environment, he decided to get into management studies.
During his graduation, he not only focused on his management studies but also paid a considerable time for preparing for CAT examination. Soon his hard work paid off and he cleared this highly prestigious examination. And then 21st May, 2012 was witness to that achievement of his life which he values the most. On this day, he was selected to pursue his Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Indian Institute of Management, Indore. Ajay says, “The life at a business school is very challenging yet the motivation to do something different gets me going everyday.”

A peep into Ajay’s achievements

Ajay has always been a dedicated student and a keen learner. It is because of this yearning to learn coupled with gusto that in November 2012, he represented India at a global I.T. Challenge for Youth with Disabilities in South Korea. There he won the second prize and made our country proud. Not only this, with a broad vision in mind to contribute to the society, he joined a group called ‘YOUNG Voices’ in February 2012. This group works for the protection of rights of the persons with disabilities. In this capacity, he has been active in leading several initiatives and projects, and has negotiated with several organizations to ensure a more accessible India. One of these initiatives includes correspondence with the Delhi Transport Corporation to install talking GPS devices in its buses to make bus travel convenient for all. Ajay says, “My management skills also led me towards the position of groups’ coordinator (September 2012).” Ajay scored 1st rank in his final year of graduation and 3rd rank in the overall course. In addition to this, he has also addressed several seminars to empower people about the importance of technology in their lives.
Today, In IIM, Ajay is not only performing well in academics but has also been a senior member of Debating Society. In campus, he is amongst the top 30 % in a 450 batch. Ajay says, “I look upon myself as a responsible global citizen, equipped with the skills to make a positive difference in not only my community, but the globe.”

04 May

Splashing Colors of Radio Udaan


Radio-Udan-iCareINFO-May-2014Though our societies and nations are turning so advanced yet unfortunately whenever we hear about a visually challenged person, the first thing that pops  out in our mind is ‘Dependence and Sympathy.’  Keeping this point in mind, we are going to confront you with an initiative and innovative idea made by visually challenged people.  In present era, visually challenged people are doing   really a commendable job. Not only they are enduring the conservative mindsets but are setting benchmarks for our society. Here is an immensely inspirational story of Radio Udaan which will compel you to bring a change in your perspective towards visually challenged community.

Radio Udaan, is an internet radio station run by visually challenged people. This station is not backed by glamorous personalities or any elite class of society, but is an outcome of collective hard work of visually impaired people. The team members, RJs and the  whole Radio Udaan family is not only pursuing their respective careers, jobs or studies but investing their valuable time in this Radio Station.

The motive of this station is to color the lives of listeners with bright and sparking shades.  The Radio Station is not only catering lots of fun to listeners but also a lot of information and is elevating   their  level of knowledge . The RJs are trying their best to cover a large spectrum of information. It has included shows from Bollywood masti to book reviews, from inspirational talks to travelling information, cooking tips to social issues, religious dives to social harmony, etymology to rationality and much more. The discussions, debates and talks are icing on the cake   .  Here the     talks are not being imposed on any person but rather talks are about the listeners, their choices, sufferings, and current issues. These shows are not only broadcasted once a week but they are re-broadcasted as well. Radio Udaan also possesses an archive for those who missed their favorite shows. For the convenience of listeners, Radio Udaan has also made a provision of feedback forms. Moreover, interested listeners can also participate in our shows by filling a form on our website www.radioudaan.com. Keeping in mind the mobiles, which are the life-line of our generation, Radio Udaan provides respective options for android, IOS and other systems to enjoy the ride of this dynamic radio station.

A lay man may be thinking how is it possible, right? Well, being an RJ of this station let me introduce you with our way of working. We the visually challenged people, use screen readers to assist us in operating computers and laptops.  From switching on a computer to arrange our show stuff is done independently by us without any sighted assistance.  Every action regarding Radio Udaan like web hosting, web designing, Radio Jockeying, management; administration etc is being done by the visually challenged people. Our shows are both recorded and live ones.

Though Radio Udaan is an outcome of every RJ and the whole Radio Udaan family yet there is a hierarchy which goes like   Mrs. Minal Singhvi: Station Director, Ms. Jyoti Malik: Programme Manager, Mr. Danish Mahajan: General Secretary, Mr. Saif Rehman: Joint Secretary, Mr. Rajeev Bhambri: Advisor and Mr. Balanagendran: Media spokes person.

Radio Udaan provides the bliss not only to our national listeners but to foreigners as well. It is being listened in more than 50 countries. This is a thread which is attaching the hearts and minds across boundaries. Indeed, ‘Radio Udaan, A flight of life’ is an example for people who think that people with vision impairment cannot do things themselves.  Radio Udaan is a firm model of ‘insight and vision’.  May be the people behind Radio Udaan lack eyesight but the canvas of their vision is much broader and innovative than that of a normal person.

So, wake up people, it is a time to cherish the deeds of visually challenged people. The need is of empathy not sympathy. Time has come that the society has to replace their old fashioned thinking with dynamic one.

12 Mar

Living Life with Glaucoma – Divya Sharma


Being a visually challenged girl, I faced different challenges at every stage of my life. Initially, up to class 8th, I went to a main-stream school with my twin sister. My mother is a senior teacher in that school. So, they permitted me to sit in class room and passed me in every class on the basis of oral test of some chapters. When I was in eighth class, they told me to leave the school because they couldn’t allow a visually challenged person to study any further in their school.
BeFunky_Instantbhvu_1.jpgAfter that, I left the school and pursued my further studies at home. For about two years, I didn’t study much. Here I want to mention that I belong to a small city Naya Nangal in Punjab where there are no special schools or institution for visually challenged persons. This was the time when I spent whole days at home. I didn’t want to waste my time. So, I started doing experiments on computer. My brother and father again and again told me to stay away from computer because they were afraid that I would damage the desktop machine. But I didn’t pay much heed to what they said and constantly made efforts to learn computer. In those times, I used magnifier and large font to operate the computer. Gradually, I learnt basic computer operations myself. Simultaneously, I was working on my English skills. Finally, in the year 2008, I appeared in class 10th examination (PSEB) as a private student and scored 80% marks. Further in 2010, I passed class 12th with 76% marks .So far, I had done my studies with the help of my parents. They wrote study notes for me in large font with sketch pens on huge art files.
Now this was the time when I came to know about screen readers through an article published in a magazine. I had gone to Delhi for my regular eye check up where I met a person who told me about JAWS. After returning from Delhi, I installed software JAWS (screen reader) in my computer. I explored it and taught myself the commands and all that was needed to run the computer with screen reader. Gradually, I became an expert at it and life became much easier with the help of technology. I did my graduation studies with the help of screen reader software. The HP University was mainly Hindi medium based; there were hardly any English medium books available for students. So, my parents dictated me books of different subjects and I typed whole books in English on my computer in order to prepare study material for myself. I typed it and studied it with the help of JAWS screen reader. This thing was repeated throughout my graduation. It took long hours to write books on computer. I scored 69% marks in my graduation. It is to be noted that I appeared in all examinations with the help of a writer.
This struggle made me more familiar with laptop. I started surfing internet and joined networking sites with the help of screen reader. Soon, I started looking for visually challenged persons on internet and one day, I just wrote in search box of networking site ‘Visually challenged person’. As a result, I met a person who had mentioned about her vision impairment in her brief profile description. We became friends. That was the day and today is the day when I have more than 300 visually challenged friends. I am an active user of Skype, Facebook and an active Blogger too. I am pursuing my Masters in English and presently in second semester. Now instead of typing books and notes, I scan all my English books and study it with screen reader.
Apart from studies, I am a freelance writer and a RJ in online radio station run by VI people. I have got my poems and articles published in different magazines like ‘Cross the Hurdle’ etc. I recently won ‘The Best Letter of the Week Award’ from Hindustan Times. There is a long list of my hobbies as well. I like cooking, am a music lover, sing, play harmonium, especially guitar (Performed in our city’s officers club on different occasions), possess diploma in music, both vocal and instrumental and am a chess player. Here I want to mention that I was gifted with the skill of Art. I used to do painting when I was small and won prizes and gifts from ‘Khushi Ki Duniya’ program, POGO and Cartoon Network channel. My paintings were shown on TV art show. They especially mentioned that the paintings were made by a visually challenged person. Unfortunately, I had to stop doing painting because of my vision impairment. I used to look at the page so closely that my nose touched the sheet. Due to huge strain and eye pain, I was forced to leave painting. I can read one or two words from a very close look but that leaves me with severe eye pain, giddiness and strains my remaining 25% vision.
Now with the assistance of technology, I am 99% independent in studies and computer operations. The only thing I have to work on is my mobility. I am a confident girl and wear smart spectacles and due to this one cannot judge that I am a visually challenged girl. I feel difficulty in going alone, recognizing people standing near me but still I am much better than what I used to be years ago.