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Special touch that cures many

Jamshedpur resident Abhay Kumar Singh has never stopped dreaming, be it with or without his vision. On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, he is a true inspiration for many like him.

The 32-year-old lone visually challenged physiotherapist of Jharkhand has cured 25 patients and treated over 500 disabled children at Baharagora and Galudih in Ghatshila subdivision since September 2011 when he was appointed under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

But Singh, who always carries a muscle stimulator, ultra-ray lamp, infra-ray lamp and heating pads, prefers to treat at home. He now earns around Rs 17,000 a month, thanks to his job and private practice.

But, things were not so hunky-dory a few years ago.

Singh had cleared the entrance examination to enrol in a three-year BPharma course at the Institute of Pharmacy and Technology, Salipur in Cuttack, Odisha, in 2000.

“It was while appearing for my second semester in 2001 that I had difficulty in vision and excruciating pain in my head,” he recounted the traumatic experience.

Soon, he was taken to AIIMS in Delhi where he underwent a brain tumour surgery in March 2001. Gradually, his vision got blurred till he completely lost his sight.

“It was during this time that community-based rehabilitator Vivek Kumar, who is attached with Cheshire Home in Sundernagar, inspired me to dream again. It was at his insistence that I started attending the community-based rehabilitation programmes at Rajnagar in Seraikela Kharsawan,” said Singh.

During one such programme, he learnt about the physiotherapy course offered at Blind People’s Association in Ahmedabad.

“But, when I went to Ahmedabad in 2002, I was asked to be proficient in Braille. I came back and learnt Braille at the Jamshedpur chapter of National Association of Blind in Baradwari,” Singh added.

Just when Singh thought his life was improving, destiny had something else in store.

He again started experiencing similar symptoms and was rushed to AIIMS. He again underwent a brain tumour surgery in 2003.

Next year, Singh enrolled in a three-year diploma in physiotherapy at Blind People’s Association. Simultaneously, he also completed a short course in acu-pressure and computer operation (for blind) from the same institute.

In 2011, Singh appeared for an interview for a post of physiotherapist under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and was selected for Baharagora block.

“I used to offer physiotherapy to disabled children between six and 14 years at Baharagora. Then I was transferred to Galudih in January this year,” he added.