Blindness is My Blessing

Ganesh SinghGanesh carefully made his way up the staircase to the Cheddi Jagan Lecture Hall on the compound of the University of Guyana. He had only a few minutes to spare but was eager to update us on recent developments in his life.

Two years ago Eye On Sight introduced you to Ganesh, he then told us how he lost his vision to Glaucoma twelve years ago and the struggles encountered, including depression that engulfed him for over five years.

He then declared that his involvement in Blind Cricket saved him and propelled him out of the depths of despair.

Today Ganesh has another story of triumph over adversity in that he is fulfilling one of his dreams – that of attending a tertiary institution. His dream became a reality when he enrolled in the University of Guyana in September 2012.

I always wanted to attend University, not necessarily UG (University of Guyana). After I got blind I was unable to fulfill my dream of being a Chartered Accountant. But in 2008 I realized that attending University could be a possibility. I told myself that I could tackle it now, but it didn’t happen until last year – that was in September of 2012. Can you believe it ? I’m now a student here at UG”.

The road to this destination has not been an easy one, his dream was shattered years ago, when he went blind shortly after leaving High School. From then on he was very apprehensive about furthering his studies. He feared being ridiculed and hated the thought of being dependent on those around him. But he later realized that his concerns were trivial and took a leap of faith.

It has been better than I expected, this University has very comprehensive policies. The support from fellow students in terms of helping me around has been excellent. The Lecturers have been very supportive because I do all of my exams electronically and they support me in that way. I didn’t know things could be this good.

Technology has played a big role in his outlook , armed with his computer and other gadgets, Ganesh spoke with pride about his independence.

I have no problem with access to information , I consider myself fortunate, I know that in the past persons who are blind and attended this University had to get readers to read stuff, use cassettes and all that. With technology now I don’t have much more to do other than scan using a SARA (Scanning and Reading Appliance).

For those who know Ganesh, his positive outlook on life is not surprising, but for Ganesh – his achievements have surpassed his own expectations. “Twelve years ago I was in the depths of despair, can you imagine being a teenager, in the prime of life and then losing your sight? I have always been a dreamer and thinking, it wasn’t until 2004 that I started to think positive again and in 2005 I faced reality and told myself that I needed to move. Today I consider my blindness a blessing, look at what I have achieved? I’m meeting people and doing so many things including traveling all over the place I would not have achieved all of this if I was not blind.

For this young man one of his many callings in life is to help blind or visually impaired young people in Guyana. One of his projects is helping them to sit the examination from the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

I got funding from the Ministry of Education to fund tutors , I am going to get the programme with everything electronic. I am helping others, I think that’s one purpose for my life. Not everyone had the opportunity to write the CXC Examinations. When I did them (the exams), I was sighted. It is the foundation of any academic development;

The future is bright for Ganesh, he is eternally grateful to the Caribbean Council for the Blind (CCB) and persons who have stood by him through difficult times.

I am on a partial scholarship from CCB, attending University is very costly and they have helped to offset a lot of costs. Their support for me has been great;attending University is costly,they help me to offset a lot of costs, I would have found it very hard to attend University.” Ganesh is loving life and sees his experience as one that will help others.

You just have to use what you have to get what you want. Its not the end of the road, rehabilitate yourself and integrate yourself back into society, if you have a disability and you are not doing anything, it’s as though you’re dead …’re alive but not living , don’t let your blindness limit you;

Look at me – I’m now in university I have other things going, I’m not where I want to be, I’m never contented with my life, I always want more, but I’m pretty happy at this point in time and I want use what I have to help others.

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