You’ve probably never heard of her – if you have, give your self a huge pat on the back– because she is one of the most amazing and inspiring person I’ve ever learnt about. Beroz N Vacha is 88, and yet she has lost none of the passion, drive or youthful enthusiasm that led her to start working towards such an impossible cause back in 1977. And what a wonderful cause it is – the empowerment of India’s deafblind children.
In 1977, Beroz left her job as a teacher for the deaf in an institute because they would not accept deafblind children. She realised that her calling was to help those who would not be accepted by anyone else – those specially abled children who are refused education in most parts of India. So, with Rs 150 in her pocket, she founded the Hellen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Deafblind in Mumbai, and became the first teacher of deafblind children in India. From 2 teachers and 3 students in a “modest living room”, it has grown to a full institute with 2 centers and nearly a hundred students. Still sounds small – but the institute has helped, founded and supported innumerable other institutes and causes all over Southeast Asia, and trains teachers for the deafblind in a variety of nations. But the cause is so much more.
Beroz wants the deafblind to be accepted into society, and giving a fair opportunity to develop in life and work related skills. It may sound idealistic, but she has 3 basic beliefs, inspired Helen Keller herself – all a child needs is an education and unconditional love and every child can be educated. With these three simple beliefs, she has created an institution to give India’s deaf ,blind and deafblind an education,to train them in daily life skills to operate computers and to even teach them to swim as they do in the residential school of the Helen Keller in navi Mumbai .Above everything else her aim is to have them accepted and included in society.
As Pooja Kapur who is very close to Beroz, says , “There can be no greater teacher than one who can teach a person who cannot see, hear or say anything since birth how to live, learn and earn.” Watch this video – I promise you that whatever you were planning to do with those 20 minutes is worth missing for this – www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXj91vAFmGw
Photo Credits: harmonyindia.org
References: harmonyindia.org, helenkellerinstitutefordeafanddeafblind.org