Qur’an in Braille, laptop schooling, indoor video games: A blind formative years’s imaginative and prescient

Srinagar, Mar 5:
Sightless but not visionless, Abrar Ahmad Bhat looked exhilarated while
unlocking the door to his computer institute, as his dream was finally coming

At first, one can
hardly deduce that Abrar is visually impaired given his enthusiasm and agility
in making arrangements for the inauguration of his institute.

This 29-year-old
visually impaired youth has become a beacon of hope and inspiration for the
differently-abled people.

At his institute
in Nowpora area of Srinagar, Abrar has introduced teaching The Holy Qur’an in
Braille language for the visually impaired children who do not even have access
to special schools.

Apart from
teaching kids Quran in Braille, his institute will provide computer training
and indoor game activities for visually impaired children.

“I wanted to do
something for people like me. I have struggled throughout my life. I don’t want
people to suffer like me. I want to create a platform to guide and educate them
on the right path,” Abrar said with a cheering smile on his face.

He said that
around 25 visually impaired students will be accommodated in his institute.

“To run the
institute, we have pooled funds locally and haven’t taken any support from the
government so far,” he said.

Hailing from
Solina area of the uptown city, Abrar is the eldest son among the four children
of Abdul Ahad Bhat.

At 15, he started
losing his eyesight. His family took him to several doctors, including visits
to Indore and Hyderabad, where Abrar was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa
(RP), a genetic disorder that involves a breakdown and loss of cells in the
retina resulting in complete loss of eyesight.

“My body trembled
when doctors told me that my disease is incurable and I need rehabilitation. I
did not know what that word meant at that time. I was in mental trauma and did
not know what I will do with the rest of my life,” Abrar said.

By 16, when Abrar
was in class 10, he was almost completely blind.

“I used to take
help from my friend to record voice notes of my lessons and listen to them.
During exams, I had to take the help of a writer as I was hardly able to see. I
qualified class 10 in 2008 and 12 class in 2010 with a good percentage. I did
graduation in arts from Delhi University in 2017,” he said.

Abrar’s family
struggled financially. His father, Abdul Ahad was a daily wager and could
hardly afford Abrar’s treatment.

The life was full
of challenges and societal hindrances.

“Once I went to
get a library membership and I was asked what I would do with it since I was
blind? But I wanted to show them that I am of the same ability and caliber as
those who can see,” he recalled.

While he studied,
Abrar tried his hands on selling carry bags to support his family but his
efforts came to a grinding halt as the situation in Kashmir turned turbulent in

Later in 2013,
his friends suggested him to visited the National Institute of Visually
Handicapped (NIVH) Dehradun where he could enroll in several courses without
any cost.

At NIVH, Abrar
successfully completing three-month adjustment and rehabilitation course as
well as other employment-generating courses offered by the institute.

In 2016, he was
appointed as a sub-staffer in Punjab National Bank in Kashmir and is now
serving his purpose of life to create a learning platform for visually impaired
people in Kashmir.

His computer
institute was inaugurated by District Commissioner, Srinagar Dr. Shahid Iqbal
Choudhary on February 29.

“We will provide
full support for this institution. Whatever requirements are needed to run this
institute, the government will provide every help to him,” Dr. Choudhary said.

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