Mohammad Azam’s story

Championing Education through Assistive Technology

Azam’s journey began in the vibrant city of Ajmer, nestled in the heart of Rajasthan. Born with cataracts in both eyes, his parents embarked on a relentless quest to secure his medical treatment. At just six months old, he underwent surgeries. It was an eye condition that appeared to run in the family, as both his father and grandfather grappled with visual impairment. Azam’s visual impairment posed a significant challenge to his educational pursuits, yet his family rallied around him, providing support.

Despite this formidable obstacle, Azam emerged triumphant in his academic endeavours. He completed 12th grade at a specialised institution for the visually impaired in Ajmer, eventually attaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Education (B. Ed). His thirst for knowledge was unquenchable, leading him to pursue a Masters’s Degree in Political Science and Urdu. Azam harboured a deep-seated passion for technology, which he harnessed to enhance his studies.

In 2019, the Inclusive Education Programme of Sightsavers India, supported by HCL, was launched in the Udaipur district. Azam seized the opportunity and applied for the position of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) coordinator, securing the role. With the steadfast support of the Sightsavers India team, he embarked on this new journey.

His initial forays into fieldwork were challenging. Inadequate transportation facilities often compelled him to embark on long treks to reach schools and the homes of children residing in rural areas, to provide training, and to follow up on children’s progress in their studies using ICT devices. Office work also presented hurdles due to his vision impairment, but Azam tenaciously adapted to these tasks, ultimately achieving success.

Today, Azam serves as an ICT coordinator, efficiently discharging his responsibilities. He trains Children with Visual Impairment (CVI) on Plus Curriculum, encompassing Braille, daily living skills, and mobility. Moreover, he shares his expertise with government teachers, elevating the quality of education through technology.

His influence extends beyond his district; he has lent his support to other Sightsavers India projects throughout Rajasthan, catalyzing positive policy engagement outcomes as he engages with government officials to ensure that the needs of CVIs are addressed. He aspires to become a teacher and views this role as a stepping stone to further professional growth.

Azam’s technical acumen continues to grow, and he has played a pivotal role in enhancing an in-house app developed by Sightsavers India. His journey serves as an inspiration to many, and his impact in the realm of education for children with visual impairment is nothing short of profound.