Belonging to Sipakhana VDC in Dumrekot, Kalikot District in mid-western Nepal, he is the eldest child of his parents Krishna Prasad Sanjyal and Dhansara Sanjyal and has three younger sisters. His parents realized within 3 to 4 months of his birth that Prakash was different from other children and maybe had a problem with his vision. Since there were no hospitals in that area, they took him to the nearest District Health Centre for examination. Not getting any positive feedback from the Centre, their next step was to take him to Himalaya Eye Hospital in Pokhara. After the doctors there informed them of no medical cure for him, they returned home disheartened.
As Prakash grew older, he remained at home and did not go to school as his parents thought he would be unable to learn since he was blind. They were not aware that a visually impaired child could be given training and education. He tried to make friends in the neighbourhood so that he could play with them. But the other children refused to play with him labeling him blind. He would often come home and cry.
With the hope of depending on a normal boy child to take care of them in their old age as is the tradition in many rural areas of Nepal, his parents went on to have more children. Taunts from the community people on having a child with a disability was another reason for his parents wanting a normal boy child. A great deal of stigma is attached to having a child with disability/disabilities especially in rural areas or/and among the less literate, believing it to be a result of bad deeds done in one’s past life.
One day Prakash’s maternal aunt who lived in Surkhet came to know of The Enabling Centre at BPEF-CHEERS from a teacher at Itram School in Surkhet who happened to be her neighbour. The teacher in turn knew Tek Bahadur Oli -a resource teacher who referred the boy to BPEF-CHEERS eventually. He joined CHEERS in August 2016.
It was good that his father finally realized that having more children was not a solution but giving education and training to the children that he had was more crucial. He expressed his feeling to the staff at the Enabling Centre . He mentioned that he would be very happy if Prakash received training and education at CHEERS and left him there at the hostel after he was admitted to the Centre after a series of examinations.
The child was provided training in activities of daily living and taught Braille reading and writing skills. A quick learner, he can now recognize and read Nepali alphabets and vowels as well as read and write English alphabets in Braille from A to Z. Self-reliant and confident, he is very good at memorizing things and has developed excellent verbal communication skills.
Prakash’s preparatory education and training at the organization has enabled him to join Shikhar Secondary School in Surkhet after graduation in March 2017. It will help him have a bright future and study further which is the objective of the Rehabilitation programme at BPEF-CHEERS. He has represented the organization on several occasions such as the Bharatpur Workshop and the 15th Graduation Ceremony of the 100th child with blindness and visual impairment as Master of Ceremonies and made everyone proud. We wish him the very best for his future!
Once he graduates Tek Bahadur Oli will help him get admission for higher studies in Shikhar Higher Secondary School, Surkhet with a good recommendation.
We hope to see more children like Prakash in the role of Little Ambassadors.