The start of the new year has been nothing short of an eventful one. Many stories have surfaced on the internet, some good, some bad. The year 2019 however has been a good start to many, including blind masseur Yugeswaran Ramachandran.
Back in 2015, then 30-year-old Yugeswaran had become an acute diabetic which resulted in diabetic retinopathy (which led to loss of vision and eventual blindness). A few days after he had an eye surgery, his mother passed away, and due to his constant weeping and high pressure, there was permanent damage to his eyesight.
Unfortunately for him, his unlucky period hadn’t ended yet. A couple of months after he lost his mother and his eyesight, diabetes caused his right leg and two toes on his left leg to be amputated.
Following this, his wife asked him for a divorce. All in the same year.
Many people with disabilities have a common factor: poverty. Yugeswaran too, faced deep financial problems at a point in his life post blindness. To improve his financial situation, he applied to become a masseur in 2017 and was offered a place in the Kinta Valley Rehabilitation Centre run by the Malaysian Association of the Blind.
He started off his reflexology at his home in Kuala Sawah, a small town in Negeri Sembilan, with the financial aid of his friends. Soon after, he sought out to expand his market as this was his sole source of income.
With the help of support group Kai Kodukum – who highlight economic problems among the socially deprived through WhatsApp – Yugeswaran had sent out a video. “Help me by allowing me to do service for you,” he says in his video. It caught the attention of Chandrika Nair.
Chandrika was moved by Yugeswaran’s determination to succeed and raise awareness for the blind, and so arranged a full day reflexology session at the Sai Baba Centre in Seremban.
Today, Yugeswaran has had two successful reflexology sessions at the Sai centre and now has plans on opening his own provision shop. He thinks that this will help his financial situation a lot more.
Another person with an equally motivating story is Beno Zephine, the first 100 percent visually-challenged person to join the Indian Foreign Service in 2015, 69 years after its formation.
Hailing from Tamil Nadu, Beno was born blind. Despite her disability, she never let it come in her way of achieving her dreams. With the support of her family, friends and teachers, she has reached the place she is at today.
After learning that she had ranked 343 in the Civil Services Examinations of 2013, she had begun giving motivational speeches in schools and addressing students across the state. She also actively promoted the use of software Job Access With Speech (JAWS), which allows visually challenged to read from a computer screen.
In 2016, she was posted at the Indian embassy in Paris – her first overseas posting – where she naturally picked up the French language. Subsequently Beno also enrolled to commence her PhD studies.
And her success story has continued since.
Despite their disabilities, Yugeswaran and Beno have pushed on and worked hard to earn successes in their own ways.
[main pix from The Star]