Courage overcomes disability

He was born without eyesight but he has had a successful journey so far, pursuing a post-graduate course. He is a keen and tactful listener and uses a scribe for noting down his thoughts. Problems faced by him at earlier stages of his education have only strengthened his will and courage for making feats in life. BilalParray speaks to Mir Iqbal about his experience and aspirations.  
    
Bilal Ahmad Parray, 25, is a visually impaired student from Hajan Sonawari. Despite his disability and little financial resources, he has successfully competed with regular students.

’Always hope for the best’ is Bilal’s refrain. He aspires to be a civil servant.

“Many would have cursed themselves for being born with such handicap, but I have accepted it and taken it as a challenge. Being born without eyesight is something that shouldn’t have happened to me. But since it has, I try to make most of it (what I have),” says Bilal.  

“I have adapted a lot over the years. My friends record the syllabus in a tape recorder, then I listen to it repeatedly with patience to clear the basic concepts”.

Bilalwent to M.L.Higher Secondary School in Hajan.In 2010 he completed his graduation in Arts from Government Degree College Bemina.

“Boarding bus during the rush hours was very difficult for me. Even there is no special concession forvariously challenged students in the bus fare in Kashmir”.

Bilal complains that theState Board of School Education has provided“no infrastructure for students like him –facilities like braille system,seating arrangement in classes, special sports facilities etc”.

However, Dean Students Welfare (DSW) University of Kashmir has started career counseling for physically challenged students a few years ago.

“We provide free counseling to these students to encourage them stand on their own legs,” said Shaheel Ahmed, coordinator of the special cell at the University of Kashmir.

Bilal had great expectations from the University. But even during 3rdsemester the authorities have failed to provide specially prepared books and material to him,with the help of which he couldcomfortably read and take down notes during the lectures.

“We have applied for Jaws system and Software which will help those students who arevisually impaired,” says Shaheel.

Courageous Bilal has his set of worries.

“I am eligible to appear in Public ServicesExamination. But I am sure even if I top the exams they can’t guarantee me a job, just because I can’t write on a blackboard or teach normal students.”

The likes of Bilal have emerged as examples for challenged students. “The key is to make the most of what you have.”

Bilal has a dream to serve blind students, and has plans to open a special school in Kashmir. He also has a dream of helping the poor, needy and his parents in their old age.

“As our son is not able to work in the fields, we supported him fully in pursuing his studies in spite very little financial sources so that our son can stand on his own feet not only to feed himself but can become a helping hand in our old age,” say his parents. A hope Bilal is striving to keep alive against all odds.

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