Beacon of light for visually impaired friends | Mitra Jyothi

Beacon of light for visually impaired friends

Profile : Chaitra Gurunath is an example of grit and determination. Her life journey has been full of ups and downs. She faced a lot of challenges due to vision problem but she never gave up on her dreams. She always believed that life is about resilience and one’s ability to face the challenges positively. Chaitra accomplished her dream in December 2018 and has been working as a ‘Probationary Officer’ in State Bank of India.

Family Background : Chaitra’s father Mr. Gurunath, is a retired police officer and mother Mrs. Prema Gurunath is a home maker. Chaitra is the youngest of the three siblings. The entire family lives in Bangalore. Everyone in the family has a normal and healthy eyesight.

Childhood & Early life : Chaitra was born with healthy eyes. Like any other kid, Chaitra attended a normal school. She finished her 10th from Mount Carmel High School with high score. Chaitra was very bright student. She finished her 12th with a distinction from Krupanidhi College, Bangalore.

Challenging phase : Chaitra enrolled herself into R.J.S. College of Commerce to pursue B.Com in the year 2012. Life was a blessing until one fine day, Chaitra found it difficult to read the board in her accounts class. She was only 21 when the issues of her vision began to gallop along. She consulted few eye doctors who reviewed her condition and advised that she would be fine soon. Unfortunately, her vision started getting worse with time. Hence, she visited Narayana Nethralaya for her eye problem. After several tests at Narayana Nethralaya, the eye specialists concluded by saying that Chaithra had “Retina Pigmentosa” which meant that the pigments in her retina were getting deteriorated gradually. This meant that after few years Chaitra will not be able to see. This was a big blow to Chitra and she was in a state of shock.

New Beginning: Life offered a new meaning to her life when Chaitra decided to marry. A beautiful new beginning started when she got married in May 2014. In June 2014, Chaitra completed her M.Com and once again with flying colours. From June 2014 to October 2016, Chaitra took a break and dedicated her life to the household needs.

Early Career: In November 2016, Chaitra started her teaching career as a computer instructor at Cheshire Homes, Indira Nagar.In January 2017, Chaitra visited Mitra Jyothi to deliver a presentation. Mitra Jyothi has been working towards enabling and empowering visually impaired since 1990. At Mitra Jyothi, COO was quite impressed with her skills and offered her a job at the NGO. Chaitra accepted the new job as it offered her a better learning opportunities and was in close proximity to her home. She started as “Training and Placement Officer” at Mitra Jyothi. Chaitra had multiple responsibilities at Mitra Jyothi. Firstly, she was a computer trainer for visually impaired students. Secondly, Chaitra was student’s counsellor placement officer. Thirdly, she was managing and arranging the volunteers for various extra-curricular activities. Lastly, Chaitra created awareness among various corporate and non- corporate industries as to why the visually impaired people deserve a chance to be hired and treated like the other individuals.

Chasing her Dream: Chaitra believes that everybody encounters challenges at one point or another in their life. What truly matters is how you react to and learn from that situation. However, all the hurdles did not hold her back from exploring new opportunities. She joined Mitra Jyothi to explore new options. Joining Mitra Jyothi was a life changing decisions for her.It helped her work towards her ambition of entering into banking sector. Chaitra borrowed books from Mitra Jyothi library to prepare for banking competitive exams. She says.” Without those books, it was not feasible to achieve my dream”. Also, at Mitra Jyothi, several workshops and trainings are provided to help students prepare for competitive exams. Mitra Jyothi management gave opportunity for Chaitra to undergo competitive exam preparation training along with the students though she was an employee by keeping her aspiration into consideration.

Chaitra was a very bright girl. She explored all opportunities and forged a new path of success. She finally succeeded in her efforts and accomplished her dream in mid 2018.

Impact of Mitra Jyothi on Chaitra’s life: Mitra Jyothi gave a new meaning to Chaitra’s life. At Mitra Jyothi, she realized that eyes are not practically required to see the world. According to Chaitra, “Mitra Jyothi has proven to be a guiding light for her life as well as for other disabled people”. Chaitra is very passionate about helping other visually impaired friends — and to know they aren’t alone in the changes and challenges. It’s her new found goal wherein she wants to help all the visually impaired people to build their career and work independently. In order to achieve this goal, Chaitra is improving her network of contacts through other NGO’s and industries which would be helpful for the visually impaired candidates.

Chaitra says that Mitra Jyothi lives up to its name which means “A guiding light in the form of a friend”. Books, guidance provided by Mitra Jyothi management team and the competitive exam preparation training changed her life and she is sure that Mitra Jyothi will be a game changer in many others life like hers.

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