Gaganbhai: A visually impaired who gave vision to thousands of children
We take so many things for granted, especially our abled bodies. But meet Gaganbhai Mehta, retired college professor, Ahmedabad and you’ll realize how privileged you are!
Gaganbhai was born blind because of retinitis pigmentosa – an eye disease that damages the retina.
“I have not seen the Earth since I was born”.
“This was around 1970s. The People With Disabilities Act 1995 and 2016 did not exist yet. Assistive devices were unknown and inaccessible to people like us. We were almost on our own and had to depend on others for a lot of day-to-day tasks, but this didn’t mean we were not capable enough.”
Gaganbhai’s self-confidence started decreasing as he began applying for the job of a government teacher after completing his studies. No one was willing to take him as he was visually impaired, though he had every qualification required by the schools. After 30-40 rejections, he had almost lost all hopes, until one fine day when his life took a new turn. It was a routine day and Gaganbhai was busy with his daily chores as usual when his Bhabhi came with a khakhi envelope addressed to him from a government school in Veraval, Junagadh district of Gujarat. Gaganbhai had recently appeared for a job interview at the same school.
“My heart skipped a bit. I immediately knew it was the confirmation letter as no institution would send a rejection letter by post.”
Finally, Gaganbhai’s determination and resilience paid off when he got his first job! He couldn’t have been happier. The first blind person and the only one to be appointed as teacher in a government high school then, the govt. appointed almost 40-50 visually impaired teachers after him. He was nothing short of a pioneer in bringing about this paradigm shift. Today, he is a proud retired citizen of the country living with his wife and two children, both of them equally aspiring as their father. He has served 7000-8000 children in 34 years of his service with 99-100%, results. Many of his students still remember him and do not miss out on opportunities to share their love, affection and respect with their beloved teacher.
Gaganbhai’s journey with Torchit
“Saarthi’s visually impaired-friendly design and features have made it an inseparable part of my life now. The 3 different navigation ranges in the device and Braille inscriptions on it make it a unique device to offer both, technique and technology.”
“I’m happy that the visually impaired will now be able to achieve even greater heights and become more successful than I am with the help of mobility aids like Saarthi. I am thankful to Torchit for all its efforts and initiatives.”