“Sound of Whitecane rough path to elevator!”
When I was 10 years old, I fell one day while walking back from school. I was crying because I had scratched my new shoes and was scared of my father’s scolding. That happened because of my blindness I couldn’t walk properly up down in the hill path. At university, I requested many people to help me fill an exam form. They did not believe that I was blind and refused. At an interview for a project coordinator, they appreciated my involvement with the disability sector but they did not give me the job, because they ‘assumed’ I could not maintain a databases and organize my files.Despite the fact that I assured that I could, they wouldn’t let me try. Sometimes my friends used to say things about me in front of me, as though I was not present.
I am Rajendra Prasad Dhital, a born blind. I live at Kavre District in Nepal. This is an economically, literally and socially backward region which lacks public access facilities for the blind. At the age of eight I used to walk two hours through narrow paths in hilly terrain to attend a mainstream school. Because I had limited vision, I could read and write only by holding the book very close to my eyes. Teachers never helped or motivated me, since they thought that a blind child can never study like a sighted child. While other normal children were playing or participating in recreational activities, my class teacher used to send me back home.
Ignoring these challenges and obstacles I passed my school level and left to Kathmandu for further education. During 2008, my vision decreased suddenly. Now I was almost blind. I became unable to walk and read independently though I still had light perception.I thought there were no options in life and wanted to commit suicide. My friends encouraged me to get rehabilitation by the Nepal Association of the Blind and Cricket Association of the Blind, where I learned to use the white-cane, cricket and computer. Despite not having exam writers for two years, which I had to drop, I managed to complete double bachelors. In these last few years, I am feeling so proud in terms of, at least i got a chance to be educated and independent. So today I have completed Double bachelor degree graduate from Tribhuvan University of NEPAL, currently persuing master degree and I have been a cricket player for the last 4 years of the Nepalese blind cricket team . I also have a long time experience working in disability sector in various capacities. Recently I have completed a course for leadership as a social change maker from kanthari, an international institute for empowering social visionaries in Kerala India. And now, I am founder/Executive Director of Rehabilitation and Education for Accessibility of Livelihood “REAL Nepal.
Therefore, today I have somehow proven myself in this discriminative society where People with disabilities are considered to be a burden. However, had there been a residential rehabilitation program, which taught Braille, mobility and daily living skills, in my district, when I was a child, I would have been able to integrate into society much faster. Till today there is none! I think that I am the right person to carry out this critical responsibility, as most blind children’s stories very much resemble mine. I can feel their anxiety, and I know what is needed to bring them out of this state. My wife who is also blind and co-founder of REAL Nepal , will be able to support me in this mission. It is our desire to see our Nepali blind children proudly walking with White canes, colorful dresses and big smiles.