I can do anything if i try
26 May 2014

Gopi confidently walks around today like anyone of us
"The only difference is that I cannot see like other people. I feel that I am the luckiest amongst all the people, says Gopi.
Nepal, 26 May 2014 - ‘The only disability in life is a negative attitude’ – Scott Hamilton. This statement has been proven by Gopi in her endeavour to go beyond all obstacles as she pursues higher education with a strength and will-power unrivalled by another. Even if eyes can’t see, the heart still can. With this motto, it is Gopi’s future aim to help others just like herself.

I am Gopi Maya Rai. My mother departed from this world when I was 10 years old. We are now five members in the family: my grandmother, grandfather, father and younger brother. I was born affected with jaundice and, because of this, my eyes were yellow. My parents took me to hospitals outside the camps, in Nepal as well as India. Though I regained my natural eye colour, I lost my vision permanently.

At the age of six, other children of my age were sent to school in the camps but my parents were reluctant to send me since a blind child cannot read and write like others. One day, in March 1999, a field worker of the Disability Programme* visited my house to explain to my parents about the various opportunities that JRS provided with the support of other organisations, like Save the Children Fund (UK) and CARITAS NEPAL, for the disabled residents of the camps. This worker played a vital role in motivating my parents. 

Save the Children Fund (UK) initiated the Disability Programme in the camps in August 1995. A home-based approach to address issues pertaining to children with disabilities and their families, was adopted for a pilot group of 20 children and their families in Timai and Khudunabari camps. The project laid an emphasis on parental participation and community ownership of the decisions made in relation to persons with disabilities.

After several visits of the field workers to my house, my father agreed to send me to a school which is very close to my house. I was more than happy to go to school with my friends. The very next day I was taken to school and admitted to the pre-primary class along with other students. Since then I have continued my formal education. I completed the School Leaving Certificate Examination from New Horizon Academy at the Sanischare Camp. I joined the Higher Secondary School in Damak for higher education and passed grade XI in second division. I have recently appeared for grade XII examination and am confident that I will succeed.

At the beginning of my schooling, I used to think that I could not do anything. But gradually, as I learned to cope with every situation, I realized that I could do everything. The only difference is that I cannot see like other people. I feel that I am the luckiest amongst all the people. I have lovely friends, teachers, family, relatives and the organization to support me. My aim in my life is to continue my higher education and then serve persons with disability who are in need of support like me. I am sure now that I will reach my aim in life.
*  a CARITAS NEPAL Programme implemented with the support of JRS

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