Sightsavers stories

Selvamani's story

“I recognised the demand for truck drivers in a rapidly developing nation like ours, but I was also acutely aware of the societal gaze that accompanied my unconventional choice. I’d like to thank Sightsavers India and India Vision Institute for setting up a vision centre in Salem, ensuring access to vision care. I now navigate the roads with newfound clarity, empowered to continue breaking barriers.”

 Meet Selvamani G, a remarkable 56-year-old woman defying stereotypes in the male-dominated truck driving industry. Hailing from the scenic Salem district in Tamil Nadu, Selvamani has fearlessly manoeuvred heavy vehicles for over 15 years, undeterred by the challenges that came her way.

For Selvamani, truck driving became more than just a profession—it was a gateway to financial stability and instant wages. Breaking free from the shackles of gender norms, she charted her own path, determined to create a brighter future for herself and her family.

As her driving career flourished, Selvamani began encountering challenges stemming from her vision impairment. The very act of seeing distant objects clearly became a struggle, leading her to squint her eyes. During this time, she learned about the truckers’ vision screening centre under the RAAHI Programme, a collaborative effort between Sightsavers India and India Vision Institute in the vibrant town of Sankagiri, Salem.

Filled with hope, Selvamani eagerly visited the screening centre to have her vision assessed. The experience was a revelation, as her distance vision impairment was identified, shedding light on the cause of her difficulties. To her delight, she was informed that she would receive a pair of free spectacles within 20 days at the static centre. After the allotted time, Selvamani joyfully collected her spectacles, her eyes sparkling with gratitude.