THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sajeevan C, 45, rarely uses the white cane while treading through the city he is so familiar with. Visually challenged by birth, he has never once let his disability come in the way of his life. He works as a clerical attendant in the GST Commissionerate at Press Club Road. On Tuesday, which was the International Day for Persons with Disability, the Social Justice department named Sajeevan as the recipient of the state award for the best government employee in the visually challenged category, for his exemplary performance. The award is a major achievement considering the difficulties faced by persons with disabilities in gaining meaningful vocations and retaining it.
“I felt unwanted in the office in the beginning. I even thought of resigning as the officers doubted the abilities of a visually challenged person,” said Sajeevan, who joined the state commercial taxes department as a last-grade employee when he was studying at the Government Law College in 1999. However, he managed to gain the confidence of his superiors and soon became a sought after office assistant in various sections.
Those who know Sajeevan aren’t amused by this achievement of due to his involvement in helping others with similar difficulties for several years. When he was the vice-president of the youth wing of Kerala Federation of the Blind (KFB) here, he led agitations against universities for declining the applications of visually challenged students pursuing BEd courses. The protests found results and the universities introduced three per cent reservation for visually challenged persons for the course. He even used his spare time to prepare the visually challenged for competitive examinations, vocational skills, mobility skills and computer skills.
“Technology is a big boon for the visually challenged community. Mobile phones have become like an organ for us,” said Sajeevan, who is the general secretary in-charge of KFB.
He volunteered as a master trainer at Insight, a project executed by KFB for the social justice department. The training helped visually challenged to use various tools for reading, writing, navigating, transacting etc.