NATION

‘Disability Not A Limitation’

Fifty-year-old Rakesh Chand is an employee of the Westpac Call Centre in Suva. Mr Chand is disabled, but his disability did not stop him from achieving more in life. He
25 Apr 2015 10:50
‘Disability Not A Limitation’
Fifty-year-old Rakesh Chand (left), with his 21-year-old son Alvis Chand.

Fifty-year-old Rakesh Chand is an employee of the Westpac Call Centre in Suva.

Mr Chand is disabled, but his disability did not stop him from achieving more in life.

He is married and has a 21-year-old son, Alvis Chand, studying at the University of the South Pacific (USP). He enjoys playing different musical instrument, travelling and keeping fit.

“I was born a normal child, grew up and spent most of my childhood years in Ba and Rakiraki. It was through an accident back in our farm that made me lose my sight,” Mr Chand  said.

“I was five years old. I was transferred to the CWM Hospital here in Suva and was admitted for six months.”

After recovery Mr Chand stayed in Suva and lived with relatives. Since then, his life changed and he became independent.

He then attended Fiji School for the Blind at Vatuwaqa, Suva.

He took up English and Law studies at the Fiji Centre which was an arm of USP.

He stopped studying after he was employed by Westpac Bank. It was hard for him to study and work fulltime because textbooks were not printed in Braille.

“I had a passion of using computers, but back in the 1980s computer studies were newly introduced at USP.”

In 1990 he was chosen to attend the Senior Management Training Course for NGOs. The course was for six weeks and sponsored by World Blind Union, Canadian National Institute for the Blind and Hilton Perkins that supports the Society for the Blind.

He was the lone representative from the Pacific and he got the opportunity to learn more about computers.

“I attended a JICA course and was sent to Tokyo for nine weeks and came back with a lot of computer knowledge. This is where Westpac saw the difference in my work and finally got software only designed for blind people,” he said.

He was able to read his own email, surf the net and even do online banking.

Mr Chand believes that things can change for the better if people adapt a positive approach.

“People need to react positively and accept disabilities in society then the shame, attitude, barriers and the stigma will all die out,” he said.

Feedback:  luisa.qiolevu@fijisun.com.fj

 




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