With the support and encouragement of Meera Badve, Founder and Director of the Niwant Andh Mukta Vikasalaya, Pune, thousands of visually challenged people have re-invented themselves and are living a life filled with hope. From selling chocolates to programming for Google, they are unleashing their potential to the fullest. “There is no limit to what visually challenged people can do. We are the ones who are blind to the possibilities,” says Mrs. Badve.
Mrs. Meera Badve started Niwant Andh Mukta Vikasalaya in 1996. Niwant was a dream then. Mrs. Badve had nothing else other than her own house, talent, and a strong will to devote her life for the cause of upliftment of the visually challenged students-telling them that education was their birth right.
The results of Mrs. Badve’s hard work are clearly visible today-
More than 2000 students have walked out of Niwant as self-reliant individuals.
Every student from Niwant has passed Higher Secondary Education and most have them have graduated in from various streams.
Some of them are pursuing their Ph.D.
Many topped in their respective academic fields.
150 members enrolled every year.
22 different subjects taught from almost every stream of higher education- Law, Commerce, Library Science, MCM, Arts, Science, Bakery, Dancing, to name a few.
16 Braille library branches in Maharashtra and 1 at Goa with a humungous collection of over 3000 Braille books, rendered free-of-cost to the needy.
Today, team Niwant has people from various age groups-retired personnel, housewives to young college students. They help in recording audio materials for the students, translating and typing in the local Marathi language, volunteering as scribe for exams and many more. Experts from IT field all have formed a human chain and are giving a slice of their life for the noble cause.
Many students from Niwant are now employed in various fields as Bank Officers, legal advisors, counselors, teachers, Software Developers; in Railways, P.W.D., Tata Yazaki, Minda Sai, Seed InfoTech; as Telephone operators, Lift Operators, Braille Printers, proof readers, hardware administrators, technical translators for German and Japanese.
Sound mind dwells in a sound body
Niwant has produced International Level Cricketers and Chess players. 120 students of Niwant conquered the Torana Fort this year. 21 girls completed Pinkathon- four of them ran 10 km with a record timing of 59 minutes. Niwant is always fledged with myriad activities- dancing, drawing, singing, planting trees, donating blood, imitating bird calls, performing yoga and mallakhamb, Judo, playing cricket and organizing state level tournaments, skating and many more.
Noteworthy success stories
A group of students has formed “Television” – a software writing firm which is receiving many projects including 9 paid projects by Boardwalk – a U.S. based company
Another group works on ‘Choco Niwant’ – the excellent chocolate making unit
Others are engaged in Braille card writing, making paper bags and organdy flowers, origami handicraft
Amol Kharche, a student at Niwant, is a member of the Indian Blind Cricket team and was the hero of the Blind Cricket World Cup 2014 when he took 2 crucial wickets against Pakistan in the final match, paving a way for India’s victory.
A small video clip that presents the story:
SO CAN ‘EYE’
Many are now married, have children and are leading a mainstream life through Niwant’s efforts. Moreover, they are now contributing back, channeling their effort through the alumni club, ‘So Can Eye’. They have not forgotten their institution, infact they are playing a stellar role, many of the settled ones donating around Rs 20,000 to Niwant to help younger members get an education. She is proud of the fact that begging bowls were replaced by Braille books. Self-respect is the motto of Niwant where vision is no bar.
“They are no longer an unproductive part of the society.They, too, have contributed to the beauty of the world!”
-Mrs. Meera Badve
Mrs. Badve was honored with the “Tata Chemicals Desh Ka Namak Award” for being an inspiring hero of the Nation-2014 (for having contributed to nation building). Through the nationwide campaign, Tata Chemicals collected 200 inspirational stories.
True heroes are not known for their extraordinary powers, they are known for their extraordinary acts. Sunil Mishra is one of such heroes. For you and me, at the first look, he would appear as just another autowallah on the streets of Mumbai. However, if one were to ask people living in the slum of Ambujwadi, Sunil is no less than a ray of hope.
Mishra moved to Mumbai from his village in Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh when he was just ten years old. He went on to study at a local government school, however, he failed his 12th exam. Because of this, he had to take up the profession of an autorickshaw driver.
He has been living in the Ambujwadi slum from last 11 years now. He is barely able to meet the needs and necessities of his own family of four which includes him, his wife and two young children. Most of his salary goes in providing quality education to his kids. And the rest of which is remaining, he sends it to his parents who are living in UP. In fact, it was not until a few years back that he could afford to buy his own auto rickshaw, EMI of which he is still paying.
All this has not stopped Mishra to work tirelessly for ending the sufferings of those living in his locality. As they say, you don’t need big pockets, but a big heart to help another human, Mishra has been proving just that. The Ambujwadi slum is located in such a way that entry of large vehicles like ambulances inside it is restricted. Recognising this problem, Mishra has made sure that no ailing person is denied access to hospital and medical facility, just because of this problem.
From 2007, Mishra has managed to help many people in the slums by providing ambulance-like services with his auto. He understands the pain of seeing loved ones suffer. He recalls an incident where his own mother fell off a bike which severely injured her. Fortunately, she was taken to the hospital where she gradually recovered. It was then when Mishra pledged that he would do everything in his capacity to help anybody in such a situation. He says, “People sometimes come knocking at my door at midnight, asking for my help and I could not refuse them.”
A true hero is one who goes beyond his/her limitations and helps those in need. Sunil Mishra is one such person. An autowallah by profession who is embroiled in his own struggle to make his ends meet leaves no chance to help anybody who is in need. A true hero who drives his auto as a vehicle of life to help others reach the hospital on time.#HelpingTrueHeroes
Not only this, he even offers free rides to differently-abled persons. “If I see any differently-abled people, I stop to ask them where they are going. If it’s within 1.5 km, I drop them for free,” he says.
Recognising his noble deed, Neurobion Forte, living up to their motto of #HelpingTrueHerohas recognized Sunil Mishra as one of the heroes for his selfless service to society.
The Logical Indian truly salutes Sunil Mishra and also commends Neurobion Forte for encouraging such people. We hope that Mishra’s story inspires many others.