Articulate speech coupled with a pinch of philosophy and unending optimism defines Mohammed Wasim, a visually challenged English tutor, at the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled. Born with his vision intact, Mr. Wasim developed microphthalmos, a hereditary eye disease, that eventually led to his being visually impaired at the age of seven.
Refusing to give up on life, he completed his basic education from Shree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind and the pre-university course from the Government PU College.
He overcame several obstacles to eventually obtain a BA degree, with specialisation in journalism, English literature and political science from Surana College, Bangalore.
Mr. Wasim said: “I joined the trust as a student and now I serve as a teacher, reaching out to the disabled and economically backward. The trust has gifted me with the ability to ‘read’ without eyes. I can use numerous computer applications, email and surf the Internet for information using screen readers. Software, such as ABBYY, JAWS and the more recent DAISY have added light to my life. I have also been able to read and enjoy popular books such as Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The mobility training that I have undergone helps me live independently, even commute by the city bus service.”
Mr. Wasim is an expert at chess and has won several national-level competitions. He plays the veena and the tabla and has performed in many concerts in the U.S.
He has participated in Republic Day parades at the Manekshaw Parade Ground. He coaches students in English grammar, communication, voice and accent skills.
G. Chetan Krishna, former classmate, who works with Mr. Wasim, said: “Never underestimate the capabilities of the disabled. Wasim is an example for the potential present within each one of us. The determination and optimism that he possesses are the fuel that will drive away stereotypes and prejudices, which still haunt our society.”