CHENNAI: City Express catches up with someone who not only looked beyond her disability, but also played an important role in shaping the lives of many like her. Meet Rajeswari, a visually-challenged Tamil lecturer at the Quaid E Milleth Government College for Women and the programme coordinator-cum-vice president of the Tamil Nadu Association of the Blind (TNAB), Tondairpet.
Call her a game-changer and an inspiration, she seems surprised. “Inspiration? I am just doing my part for people who need help,” she says.
Rajeswari was born blind and completed primary and secondary education in the Little Flower Convent School for the Blind, Chennai. In Class 11, she chose accounts as her core subject. “I wanted to study Maths but I was told that a blind person cannot calculate numbers. So, my school gave me the option for accountancy and I excelled in the subject,” beams the educationist.
She shifted to a normal school after her secondary education, and went on to graduate in Tamil Literature from Queen Mary’s College. As we talk about her education, she reveals that she wanted to be an IAS officer. “Unfortunately, blind people weren’t eligible to write the exam in the 90’s and we didn’t have postings,” she sighs. Reality hit Rajeswari when she heard about the sufferings of visually challenged women in the city. “I wanted to help blind women, and that’s why I became the treasurer of the Visually Impaired Women’s Association, to work for their welfare,” she recalls.
Due to her exceptional services in the association, the TNAB management decided to appoint Rajeswari as the placement officer and resource mobilisation officer. “Then the All India Confederation of the Blind invited me to be the mobilisation officer for visually challenged people throughout the State,” shares the executive member, All India Confederation of blind. Rajeswari is also a part of the pan-Asian association that advocates rights for the blind. “I have been part of conferences wherein we share and come up with solutions to fulfil the needs of blind people with quality education and employment opportunities,” she explains.
Rajeswari is also a sports enthusiast and a school champion in athletics. “I was interested in sports, but I didn’t have any support or encouragement to pursue it. But if we receive proper funds, I will make arrangements for children here to learn every possible sport,” she opines.
She has played a vital role in conducting courses in life management, computer science and daily-living skills for the blind all across TN. “I wanted to prove that a blind person can do anything. A lot of students who took training under me are working in banks, employment offices and other fields. This makes me proud,” she smiles.
Making a difference in the lives of people who were abandoned by their family, Rajeswari adds, “Though TNAB is aided by the government, we don’t receive any funds from them. It’s solely run by donors. I request corporates and also the government to donate generously, so that children here get opportunities to learn file making and cover making. We don’t need sympathy or empathy; we need support in employment, education and medical needs.”