We live in a country where being a blind woman can be most difficult, for not many wish to accept that blind women too wish to live a dignified life; just like anyone else!
Preeti Monga is founder and CEO of Silver Linings Foundation, CEO of Silver Linings Services and Director of Project Jyoti at Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital. , Through her various portfolios, she works for people with disabilities, promotion of eye donation and empowerment of women; and runs her own business venture which provides executive search and corporate trainings. Despite being a visually impaired woman since age six, she has always stood her ground and has carved out her own path in the mainstream society and makes constant efforts to have herself as well as other disabled people live with complete Dignity! She is a celebrated motivation speaker, Life coach, an accomplished Corporate Trainer, a Trauma Counsellor, a Fitness Consultant, a PR Professional, a Disability Rights Activist, an Author, a successful Business Woman and a powerhouse of inspiration; who influences all with her dynamic and positive personality.
The burning desire to earn self-respect and freedom, led her to become an Aerobic instructor (the first blind person to have taken this on as a career)! That is how it all started. Tons of Awards are enlisted in her name along with the National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, 2013 which she received from the President of India.
Preeti’s story in her own words:
Born in 1959, in Amritsar in India, my parents discovered my visual disability when I was just 6 years old. That moment I was not totally blind but was living with rapidly fading eyesight. It must have been a difficult experience for my parents to bring up a disabled child like most of the cases in India. But they never really did change their behaviour towards me after knowing so, which really was one of the most important part of my upbringing.
When I was in class 2, constant complaints from teachers got my parents to have a meeting with them, which brought fourth my medical exam where my disability was discovered. Here began a very difficult time in my life, where social rejection, shame, sadness and fear haunted me throughout my childhood and youth!
Well, as I was very innocent and did not realize the seriousness of becoming blind, so whenever I was taken to the eye doctor, the only concern I had was, that I shouldn’t be made to wear specs, as I didn’t want to look ugly on my wedding day!
At this time my father was posted at Agartala, capital of Tripura, where there was hardly any specialized medical and rehabilitation services available; so I continued in a regular school and with my teachers and parents helping me, I made it to class 5.