Blind and brilliant

“Success is a journey, but the true experience is trying to overcome the obstacles to reach the destination.”

These were the words of 29-year-old Anil Waithe, who has been totally blind since birth.
Waithe has had a difficult life and said he struggled in gaining an education as the system did not cater to his needs. However, this has not stopped him from pursuing his passions to learn and explore.

Waithe is currently a post-graduate student at The University of the West Indies, St Augustine. He is appealing to the public for help in purchasing a premier 100 Braille embosser.
With this machine, he said, it would improve the quality of Braille and produce high-quality tactile graphics.

“Braille is my language. And I want to help others who are blind to improve their abilities in this world. It seems as if we have been forgotten by a system that caters for the sighted,” he said.

Waithe’s aim is to obtain Can$9,400 for the machine. He has since been able to procure Can$8,035 in donations. One kind sponsor gave Can$1,000 for the purchase of the machine from View Plus Technologies, a United States-based company which has reduced the price of the machine. He said the Braille embosser comes with software; however, his constraint is the purchasing on an ink attachment, which is expensive. The machine is a type of printer which uses Braille translation software to assist the impaired person.

“Charting something like a math problem, doing graphs and charts, it’s near impossible. With the embosser we can get colour and know the difference when we read it. It becomes easier for us. Just think, we can go to a restaurant and the menu can be in Braille too, printed on one paper. This can bridge the gap between the sighted and sightless,” said Waithe.

Waithe lives in Tacarigua with his mother. He obtained a bachelor of science degree in Information Technology in 2012 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Computer Science at UWI.

“The quality of education for the blind is way beneath the poverty line,” he said. “There is hardly any form of tactile teaching. The true purpose of getting an education is not to get a job, but to give back to society. If I don’t give back, I feel as I would have failed to help those who are blind to reach higher potential. You see parents who have blind children or visually-impaired children want their children to learn more, but the education system does not keep up with their needs. Trinidad’s teaching methods for the blind is faulty.” Waithe said he struggled through UWI with his courses.

“UWI is ill-equipped. My journey was like walking through a manhole while everyone else was walking on the pavements. I have had help along the way, but it’s not enough. We want to be independent and not have to depend on people for our life.” Read more

Source: Trinidad Express