Srinagar, July 6: Abrar Ahmad’s life went downhill when the doctor revealed to him that he has retinitis pigmentosa and can lose his vision anytime.
“I was not born visually impaired I could see everything but at the age of 4. I started having problems with my vision and doctor’s recommended glasses and some eye drops. But when doctor Reddy told me that I have retinitis pigmentosa I was devastated” said Abrar.
Resident of Solina area of Srinagar, Abrar has done a lot for persons with disabilities. He never considered his visionary loss as a weakness. ” I always wanted to do something for visually impaired persons because in kashmir persons with this disability were sitting idle. While In other parts of India I had seen Many visually impaired persons serving in different government sectors” he added
“I decided to organise a workshop for visually impaired persons and train them about how they can live their life without remorse . I told them how they can earn their livelihood and serve in different sectors” “he added
Abrar always had complaints about how in other parts of the country people like him are serving as IAS officers, in banks and even the director ,principal, braille development officers at the national institute for visually handicapped were 100% blind.
In order to deal with financial crises and support his father he took a self employment loan but the turmoil ruined everything. “In 2010 our family faced many financial problems so I took a self employment loan and started my business of carrying bags to support my family but the turmoil ruined everything and my business didn’t survive for long” he said .
In 2012 Abrar enrolled himself for a 3 months adjustment course for those blinded by accidents or any other health problems . ” My friend in Dehradun called me and told me to do a front office assistant course. Where we were taught braille and how to use computers” he recalled
“I even attended a clinical psychology session as I was getting depressed because of the sudden loss in vision. I always thought I am the only one but during these sessions I saw many other people with similar problems” he added.
In the year 2013 Abrar played an important role in adding Kashmiri language to the software known as Non-visual dextro access. He also worked as an editor for the betterment of Kashmiri language.
In 2015 a workshop was conducted at the Kashmir University for four days straight where 65 persons were trained to use android phones and other electronic gadgets. “The workshop was one of the most important and helpful workshops I had ever witnessed and I am sure in future also there will be no such workshop because the workshop was one of its kind” said Abrar.
Abrar has done a lot for the betterment of visually impaired persons , he has also helped in getting an extension counter of manufacturer braille appliances at Bijbehara. He has played an important role in starting the braille library in Kashmir.
In 2016 Abrar started working as a sub staff at the Punjab national bank , recently he got promoted to single window operator. After Burhan Wani’s death he joined the state welfare association for blind as a volunteer. The motive of the association was to provide rehabilitation for pellet victims.
Then in 2018 he started working as a volunteer with Jammu and Kashmir handicapped association where he helped in organising different events for persons with disabilities.
“In 2018 we organised a Naat competition where many disabled persons participated. And then in 2019 we organised the first cricket tournament for disabled persons at DPS where 60 visually impaired and other persons with other disabilities participated . “”In our initiative different NGO came forward and helped us in many ways, some helped with uniforms while some helped with food etc” Abrar added.
Besides working as SWO at Punjab national Bank he is also teaching visually impaired students as he has got the training from enable India to teach visually impaired students in 2016.
Abrar is leading a normal life as he got married last year and is living happily with his family.
(Faizan Beigh is an internee at ANN News)