Since in India there are about 14 million visually impaired persons, sisters from Poland had come here in 1989. Indian girls join them and in 1991 Congregation was registered as Jyothi Seva Society - Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross, since then JSS runs at Venkateshpura (Bangalore) “Home for Blind Children”, together with Inclusive Education Programme.
In 1996 Primary School for Blind Children was started here.
Jyothi Seva Society has other house at Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu, it is a Vocational Training for Blind Girls.
Recently first building for School for Visually Impaired Children at Nongbah, Meghalaya, was inaugurated.
In the academic year 2013 - 14 at Venkateshpura we care for 90 visually impaired students in age 4 - 21 (50 girls and 40 boys; among them 18 are orphans and 5 semi-orphans, some of them are multi-handicapped; 73 children are staying in hostel, 17 are day -scholars; 70 study in our Primary School, 9 in High School /Inclusive Education/ and 11 in different Colleges).
Children come from different religious groups: 47 are Hindus, 26 Christians, 16 Muslims and 1 Jain; they speak different languages: Kannada, Tamil, Urdu, Telugu, Hindi are most common. To unify all our School has adopted English as a medium of instruction.
We employ 8 teachers (one of them is also physiotherapist) 3 cooks, 5 ayahs (helpers) driver and security; additionally 10 sisters work as teachers or wardens.
Among our staff we have not only Christians but Hindus and Muslim as well. Some of the teachers are visually impaired.
The Jyothi Seva School provides good specialized education from Nursery level to Class VII for visually impaired children. The students follow the regular State Education Board syllabus and are able to be mainstreamed into the regular schools to complete their education. We build their confidence and life skills to join, compete and contribute to society by identifying, encouraging and enhancing their special skills and talents.
Most of the children are from very poor families. All students receive free education, boarding and lodging; for needy children clothing with medical care if required.
We continue to provide support to orphaned children and some poorer children whose families are unable to support them for their further education into high school, universities and careers.
We also offer help for the families of our students not only by educating parents in ways of bringing up their visually impaired children but providing material help for the poorest one in time of need.
Since we have no grant from Government, our work is possible only thanks to voluntary contribution from our friends, benefactors and well - wishers.
No one can present School as objectively as past students.
What they wrote shows also their situation in family and society.
Here is what they have written:
I am Eleeza Souza, I have been a part of Jyothi Seva for more than 18 years now. I completed my primary education in Jyothi Seva School. I did my high school in Sathya Seva High School and PUC in ST Charles PU College. I have completed my graduation from Jyoti Nivas College (autonomous). For the past 1 year I have been teaching in Jyothi Seva School. This year I intend to do my masters in English literature.
Jyothi Seva has been my second home for the past 18 years, and it will always be my home, it is because of the dedication, support and encouragement of the sisters that I am in the position that I find my self today.
The primary education that I received in Jyothi Seva School laid a strong foundation for the rest of my education and my future. Here I was not only provided with education which focuses on developing academic skills, but Jyothi Seva provides education for the all round development of the individual. Apart from academics I received training in Music, dance, computer skills, orientation and mobility, daily living skills. The value education classes, has helped me develop my character. I also had fun when we were given the chance to act in plays like, the Sound of Music, Christmas Carol, etc which adds on to the sweet memories of my school days.
After the primary education, I was sent to integrated education for my higher studies, this was really a new and a much needed experience for me. I am very grateful to the Sisters for having done this because I was able to meet new people and interact with sighted people. This really helped me become more independent and confident. This journey of my integrated education would not have been easy without the support, encouragement and guidance from Sisters. Sisters not only helped me with my studies, but I also received financial support as my parents were unable to support me for my education. Even after the completion of my education, the Sisters still continue to support me by giving me an opportunity to teach in the school. I am ever grateful to the Jyothi Seva institute for all that it has given me.
Jyothi Seva has given me so much; I will do my best to help other visually impaired people who need my help, so that they will also be able to lead an independent life. After completing my Masters, I wish to be employed in a reputed organization where in I will be able to make the best use of my skills. My aim in life is to become an independent and responsible member of the society, the nation and the world.
Annamma Varghese: My life and achievements at Jyothi Seva
I first came to Jyothi Seva in the month of June 1991 to continue my education in std 9. It was very difficult to go on with my education in my previous school where nobody knew anything about blind and their feelings. My life changed when I came to this institution where sisters helped me a lot by educating me through different schools and college. I was able to come out with good result. Sisters of this institution helped me to fulfill my ambition by sending me to be trained as teacher for the blind, taking care of all expenses of my education. It was a wonderful experience where I could learn many things in life, first of all to be independent and to develop confidence in life.
In 1996 I completed my training and started to teach in our own school which was just started. During last 17 years of my teaching I learn many new things and had many experiences in life. This also helped me to settle in life. Now I am married and I have wonderful two sighted boys aged 5 and 7. I am able to manage my family independently. I have a cooperative husband who is very loving and caring. I am happy to have a contend family.
Sisters always gave a helping hand in all my difficulties from last 22 years. I am always grateful to this institution which molded me and shaped me into a better person.
It is easy to feed a hungry child but it is difficult to understand a suffering child. Jyothi Seva institution has come forward to help many students to overcome their weaknesses and face their life with confidence.
I am Praveen, an alumnus of Jyothi Seva School for the visually impaired.
I was born to a middle-class family in Bangalore, the capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
It was a bit of a jolt to my parents when they realized that their last child (I) was a visually impaired.
My mother was sensible enough to seek the opinion of several doctors with regard to my disability and she was told that my case was beyond any medical cure at that time and it is still the same now as well.
I was sent to school at the age of three and for nearly seven years, there was nothing significant in my student life.
In fact, in one of the well-known school tor the Blind in Bangalore, I was considered a failed case and thanks to them, I was fortunate enough to move to Jyothi Seva School for the visually impaired for my studies.
Jyothi Seva is a residential school run by the Franciscan Sister’s Servants of the Cross.
From my experience, this is the only school which has contributed to all-round development of a visually impaired person.
Considering the ignorance of most parents of the visually impaired in India, schools play a vital role in the child’s up-bringing and Jyothi Seva has done a commendable work in this regard.
I was taught that being educated does not mean only knowing how to read and write, but it also means that we should know how to distinguish between what is right and wrong.
I studied in J Jyothi Seva for eight years up to my matriculation.
The sisters and teachers gave their best to mould me into a better human being keeping in mind the fact that the ultimate purpose of education is to make us all better human beings.
The sisters and teachers also stressed on the importance of working hard at what ever we do. This was quite an important lesson because being brilliant is one thing, but if we work hard, then even the poorest student will be able to do well in life.
Apart from regular schooling, I was also provided with opportunities to excel in other activities as well.
I took piano lessons for three years, and I also received exposure to classical music.
The sisters realized my passion for acting and I was given a chance to act in some of the popular plays like “Mr. Scrooge”, “Little Prince” and “Sound of music”.
I matriculated in the year 2006 with high first class (80%) and it was time for me to step out into the world.
Since I had the advantage of studying in an integrated school, studying with the sighted children, I managed to mingle well with other students in the college.
I completed my college education that is up to my graduation at ST. Josephs College Bangalore, and I graduated with first class.
Currently I’m pursuing masters in business law through correspondence from National Law School of India University.
One of the major challenges that a visually impaired has to put up with is that the kind of attitudes teachers and students have toward us. All I can say is that it is in our hands to change people’s attitudes by actively engaging with the main-stream world which can only be possible by bringing awareness about the visually impaired community.
At present I’m working for a public sector bank as a clerk. I deal with loan defaulters.
I’m provided with a computer and I manage to do most of the things using the screen-reader with some exceptions like cash transactions and paper work.
I also worked for a private education consultancy as an online coordinator.
In the near future, I intend to get in to the civil service considering the opportunities that are there for me to change the system from within. I’m aware of the challenges but I sincerely hope to pursue this desire of mine to the best of my ability.
I have been in this institution for the past sixteen years.I joined in the year 1996 at the age of two. Right from that age I learnt many things in life. I started studying at the age of four. I studied in Jyothi Seva School till seventh standard. Apart from my academics I was trained in activities such as singing, dancing, sports, playing Piano, computer skills, Also I learnt daily living skills, mobility etc. Later I was sent to integrated school till my tenth standard. I studied in Sathya Seva School. From my childhood I had a great desire to take up commerce so in my P.U College I took up commerce. I studied in Jyothi College for two years and now at present I am studying in Jyoti Nivas College where I am doing my final year B.Com.
In future I have a desire to pursue my higher studies, get in to a good job and I want to help other people who are just like me.
I came to Jyothi Seva at a very early age and from then on I consider Jyothi Seva as my home rather than a hostel. Home according to me is a heavenly place where in children are given the necessary things essential for life, and all of which I got here. So it is really difficult to list the specific achievements because I can’t think of anything that I have achieved without the help of this institution. With the aid of the institution now currently I am doing my final year BA in Jyothi Nivas Autonomous Degree College at Koramangala. Going to the college is also an enriching experience for me as I feel that I have become more independent and also more interactive with the people around. But still I feel that it is not sufficient, if I need to face the world in future there are still lot more things that I should improve on and I’m sure that that will be possible if I make use of all that Jyothi Seva is providing me with.
Vatsala (first PUC)
Before joining this school at my home my parents were not ready to accept my visual impairedness. But still they had no other ways, they had to, because I was the only child at that time. People from surroundings, who came to see me, somewhere felt pity. Some were teasing my parents. But parents had an aim that I should study. So they joined me to Jyothi Seva School. I learnt many things, here I felt like I was in my home. It was a good experience. A different surrounding, different people but also were very nice to me. I don’t feel that I was handicap at all. I learnt many new things, like singing, dancing, and mobility, here I learnt to be independent by doing all my daily necessities. Here I developed good habits and character. I can be independent anywhere now.
Ayesha (X std)
I came to Jyothi Seva School when I was a baby, my mother did not know what to do with me because I was blind, When I came to this school it gave light for my life.
I could learn many things like other children and also mobility skills, daily living skills, dancing, singing, and talking in English etc.
And I got many good sisters to teach me what is good and what is wrong. Even I got very nice akkas, teachers, and friends as well.
I think if I would be in home I would not get this much knowledge.
At present my condition at home is not so good, because we have very small house. Sometimes during holidays I will sit and watch television - mostly my parents will make me to sit in one place and mostly my mother will go out and she will lock me inside and go. But still I am very grateful to her because to look after every one she will work hard and make all her children to study.
My future plan is to become a Barathanatayam dancer and teach visually impaired children or to get some another good job and look after my parents.
Before my coming to Jyothi Seva my parents were very sad because they thought that I would not be educated like other children. When we came to know about this school they were very happy. But I feel a little sad because I joined this school very late.
I learnt many things here. I learnt how to read and write in Braille. I learnt how to work on a computer. I learnt mobility, DLS and how to talk in languages like English, Kannada and Hindi. I learnt good manners and good behaviour. I learnt many things through different subjects and I got a lot of knowledge in this school. When I tell my parents about these things they feel very surprised and also very happy. My sisters asked me to teach them to speak in English and to teach maths. Now I am studying in ninth standard. I think that I am studying well, but my parents are little sad, that I did not get first in my class.
I like to read books. I read every Sunday. I have a dream to go and play in a TV. Show where they ask fifteen general knowledge questions. And if we answer all the questions we will win one crore. So I want to challenge all the people. My parents are trying to make me sighted but I don’t care if I am sighted or blind. In my future I want to be an IAS officer or to work in a software company.
My family situation is not good, some times even there is no food to eat, parents were borrowing money and they don’t give back.
My parents reject me because I am blind. They don’t allow me to do any work at home, they don’t think I can. When I ask to take me out they are irritated and say “I cannot push and pull you”. They want me to stop my studies but I will not stop.
It is better to be here, at Jyothi Seva, than there, because I can be independent and learn many activities. If I would not come here I would not developed. I thank God for bringing me here.
And present students – about the school and themselves:
I was born on 4th of April 2002. When I was small I was not so active. I joined this School in the year 2008. At that time I had sad experience, because my Mother and my Father left me.
I don’t know where my Mother is, and my Father has married again. And I miss them a lot.
Now I am under care of my Grand-Mother. When I came to Jyothi Seva I was happy but I didn’t know a thing. Slowly I learn to read, write and other subjects, how to behave and how to move around. I am happy to be here. I can improve a lot.
Bhagyavanth: About my life
I was born in Navadgi, Chincholley taluk Gulbarga district in Karnataka in the year 2003 Feb. 1st. I was born blind. M y parents names are Kavery and Bheem Reddy, my mother is a housewife and my father is doing agriculture work. Before coming to Jyothi Seva I was feeling very lonely though my family loves me so much and treated me very well. After coming to Jyothi Seva I learned to speak in English and learned to work with computer, math’s etc. When I will grow up, I will do engineering and become software engineer.
Deepa, mother of Lakshmi, student of 2nd standard (Day-scholar)
"Lakshmi is totally blind. Before joining to school we did everything for her, feeding, toileting. Always someone had to be around her. She couldn’t move alone even in our house. But after joining the school she developed so much. Now she even go out alone and buy things from the shop and help me in washing and cleaning the house. She likes company of other children and plays with them. She is normal and does things like any of them.
But I have also small son, really disabled, she has hydrocephaly..."
Zareena Banu, mother of Ziaula (1st std) and Nazyia (2nd std.) (Day-scholars)
“Ziaula is our elder son. Since he is totally blind we used to keep him in cradle so that he would not harm himself. He was afraid even to walk. We cared for him like for baby. We admitted him to Jyothi Seva School only when he was 9. Now he is able to move around, climb the steps, he is able to brush his teethes and dress himself.
Nazyia is partially sighted. When she was at home she was very silent, and did not speak to anyone except our family members. She used to ply alone and never go out. After joining to school she became very free: she walks alone even to the nearest shop, talks to everyone and helps me to do house work.
I have four children, among them these two are blind...”
Annamma Varghese: Problems faced by visually challenged in society
India has a large population of disable people due to illiteracy, family related marriages and emotional problems of family. The suffering of disable child in society is greatly immense. First of all, lack of understanding of their family members, being ashamed of the blind child to be seen in the society which leads to deprivation of education, financial problem of the family to support the children for education or medical treatment, job opportunity is too less which leads to unemployment and beggary.
Many at a time, visually impaired children are denied of admission in schools and colleges, or they face lack of understanding and cooperation from other students and teachers as well. Even writing an exam in inclusive setup is a big dilemma for visually challenged due to difficulties in finding suitable scribe.
Die vom ÖIK geförderte Blindenschule in Bangalore braucht Ihre Hilfe!