‘’Hold your heads up!’’ That’s the message Tiffany Brar has to give women on this International Women’s Day. When everyone sees the world, Tiffany ‘feels’ the world, and she makes others like her feel it too.
This visually challenged young lady, quite familiar to the people of Thiruvananthapuram, is a role model for people who believe that they are incapable of doing something in life. Tiffany is a teacher, motivational speaker and artist who runs the Jyothirgamaya Foundation, an NGO. She is someone who has proved that blindness is not a barrier.
“My dream is to have an eco-friendly building of my own at Jyothirgamaya, so that more students can be accommodated for a better education,’’ says Tiffany. It’s a dream which she hopes will be fulfilled one day, and she thanks sponsors who voluntarily help her run the foundation. “Hum kissi se bhi kum nahin,’’ says Tiffany, whose father is the well-known Lt Gen T P S Brar. Her mother Leslie had passed away when Tiffany was just 12. She says that visually challenged people are not lesser than anyone. She had started off with a mobile school, but later she opened a small office at Ambalamukku.
“I started to work for them, because I want to bring forward visually challenged people from within the confines of four walls,” she says. Tiffany had completed her bachelors in English, from the Govt College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram. ‘’Stigmatisation, segregation and isolation are the challenges that I faced in my life, but it taught me a lesson on how to be independent in life,” she says. ‘’And I know that these problems are not only faced by me but also by many of the disabled people. Nobody wants to take such people with them, even some of the parents think that it is difficult to take them out,’’ she feels.
At her workshops and camps, she used to take the visually challenged out, they visited beaches and went to the movies. ‘’I strongly believe that if blind people are trained properly, then they are also equal to others,” she says.
She belongs to a North Indian family, but language has never been a barrier. Today, Tiffany speaks Malayalam, English, Tamil, Hindi and Marathi. She prefers Thiruvananthapuram, because most part of her childhood was spent here. She has also received quite a few awards for her work, including Kerala State Award for Best Social Worker in the year 2012 and the more recent ‘For the sake of honour’ award presented by Rotary Club Bangalore.