In 2015, Legatum Prosperity Index put India at 92 in education among 145 countries. With a third of our rural population still illiterate, about 28,000,000 people in rural India cannot even read or write basic alphabets. The condition of visually impaired children is worse – they are looked at differently, often times abandoned by the society, thus adding to their existing adversities. While most of are either aware of this issue or plainly criticize the lack of support to such people, one woman has decided to take the matter into her own hands.
A resident of Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, Mrs. Vijay Lakshmi Joshi, has established schools for visually impaired children in villages in her district.
The Logical Indian spoke to Mrs. Joshi who took us through her life’s journey and the inspiration behind her project.
“Since childhood, God has given me the will to serve the society”, she said humbly. Mrs. Joshi first opened a school in Tunalka in 1999, after which she opened another school in Purola in 2000. “At that time it was my dream to open an orphanage when I am financially stable to do the same”, she revealed.
While she knew that her passion lies in giving back to the society, Mrs. Joshi wasn’t always aware that she will take the route of education.
When a gram vikas officer and her uncle’s colleague, Shri Purna Nand Bhatt, asked her what her ultimate goal in life is, it awoke something in her and from that moment she knew that she wanted to uplift the life of visually impaired children by giving them their vision through education.
With help from her father, she got a piece of land in Tunalka to establish her first school. She then tried to get assistance from the district secretariat, as her father could only afford to construct two rooms in the school. After a lot of struggle, owing to Judge Indrajit Malhotra, her project started.
“2002 to 2007 was the most struggling period of my life – neither did I have money nor did I have contacts, but with God’s grace I achieved my goal”, Mrs. Joshi said. When her school was first started, it had a strength of only 12 kids, which has now reached to 40.
After she finally gave shape to her dream, she got married in 2009 at 36-years of age.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, she said that her brother also played a big part in helping her realise her dream. He funded the construction of two more rooms in the school.
To ensure that the visually impaired children do not feel different from normal kids, she teaches them with together. In addition to the 40 visually impaired children, her school also accommodates 25 normal children. She finances the school herself and with the fees received from kids who are financially stable. However, she admits that due to lack of facilities, a lot more needs to be done.
The Logical Indian wants to congratulate Mrs. Vijay Lakshmi Joshi on her achievements these past few years. We understand the value of education and believe that everyone has the right to receive it. We hope that Mrs. Joshi continues to spread her work throughout the State of Uttarakhand and inspire many more people across the country to take the same route.