Visual impairment did not stop Laxmi and Sweta from PhD

KATHMANDU: Against all odds, Laxmi Pokhrel and Sweta Singh succeeded in attaining PhD to become the first blind women students to hold this degree from the Tribhuvan University (TU) in Nepal and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in India respectively.

They have proven that a strong will and hard labour are more significant than eyesight to acquire the doctorate.

Pokhrel was recently granted the PhD degree from the TU for her thesis paper on' Religious and Historic Importance of Devaghat' and Singh for 'Gender and Media' from the JNU. With this achievement, they feel that their identical horizon has further broadened.

Obviously, for Pokhrel, a mother of two daughters, it was not easy to pursue the advance academic degree for being a woman and more so a blind woman. She said she, however, could make it possible due to her strong will power, determination and hardship, and those kind hearts that were always with her in the need.

A School Leaving Certificate (SLC) graduate from the Narayanghat-based Bal Kumari Secondary School in Chitwan, Pokharel had completed her Masters degree in history from Birendra Multiple Campus. She is teaching at the same campus since the past 16 years.

Similarly, Singh, still single, is blind by birth and passed her SLC in first division from Kirtipur-based Laboratory School. With completion of the Masters and MPhil degrees from Delhi, she got enrolled at JNU in 2012 for the PhD. She is currently assistant regional director for the Indira Gandhi Open University.

Nepal Association of the Blind honoured them on the occasion of its 21st AGM here in the Capital today.

Minister of State for Finance Damodar Bhandari pledged that the upcoming budget would increase social security allowance for the blind.

Association's chairman, Ramesh Pokhrel, said the visually impaired people too wish to live a respected, dignified and productive life, but support from all sides was crucial to boost up their confidence and to lead a meaningful life.