Safiya's story

June 2014
A self-confident Safiya

Safiya is 44 years old and has always been suffering from blindness. She lives with her mother in Mavelikkara, Kerala.

Safiya had become used to staying idly in the house, not even moving out of her immediate surroundings in the fear of getting hurt or getting in the way of other people. She had become totally dependent on her mother to do even the simplest of tasks.

Safiya was identified by National Association for the Blind – Kerala (NAB – Kerala), a Sightsavers partner, to be supported with orientation on daily living skills and mobility in and around her house.

Veena adds: “I feel a great sense of satisfaction doing this job. When I see the happiness of people like Safiya it gives me immense pleasure.”

Veena, a rehabilitation worker from NAB – Kerala, has been working with her for the past two years (she is in the photographs below in a brown sari). Veena says, “When I first met her, Safiya was very reluctant to leave the house. She said she was old and didn’t want to learn new things. It has taken a lot of effort to convince her, and get her interested in doing new things.”

Veena has helped Safiya get a disability certificate and an identity card, which means she qualifies for health insurance. Since Safiya was not ready to work or leave the house to earn any income, NAB – Kerala had to think of alternatives.

Veena helped Safiya to join the government’s ‘Kutumbashree’ programme, a small finance and sanitation scheme. Safiya agreed to raise a goat and motivated by Veena, the community Safiya lives in contributed to help her buy one. Safiya hopes it will get her some income in the long term – she can make money by selling milk and the kids.

Despite her blindness, Safiya feels very confident that she is now able to do things independently. She is very happy, and proud of it. So is her mother. Safiya says: “Veena has helped me look forward to a livelihood. She has helped me become more confident and independent. I think of her as I would my sister.”

Veena adds: “I feel a great sense of satisfaction doing this job. When I see the happiness of people like Safiya it gives me immense pleasure.”

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