CHENNAI: A zhagiya Perumal was diagnosed with low vision in 2007 while pursuing an engineering degree. “I had only 80% vision. But doctors asked me to continue my education. I was in my first year then,” he shares.
In 2011, his vision depleted to 50% and made it almost impossible for him to attend engineering-based jobs. “I came to Chennai and met Magie who was teaching mobility course for the visually-challenged at the National Institute for Visually Handicapped, Poonamallee,” he recalls.
Magie Santha Kumari taught Azhagiya Perumal about visual impact. “When there’s a problem with our vision, there’s a lack of confidence and then comes inferiority complex. She taught me to overcome all that,” he smiles.
Having learnt O&M skills from Magie, he proudly says, “Now, I know how to cook, shave, and stitch and iron my own clothes. She has also trained me in mobility. I can travel without any help.” Devi, his wife beams, “He irons his clothes every day. He isn’t dependent on anyone.”
As a manager at Indian Bank, he says, “I applied and wrote my banking exam and got selected along with two others from Tamil Nadu. But unfortunately banking wasn’t in the identified jobs for people with disability in July 2013.”
Later, a revised list of identified jobs was released and he joined the service in November 2013 as assistant manager. “After two years of probation, I wrote my promotion exam and I am a manager now,” he says.
Owing his position today to the O&M training by Magie, he shares, “Every blind person needs this training to be self-sufficient. From cooking to mobility and note identification, she has taught me everything. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.”