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With a vision

For Jinnah, providing education to the visually challenged has always been a dream project.


IT CAME as a rude shock to the 13-year-old boy when he lost his eyesight in a road mishap. Belonging to a business family, he lost his interest in life and it took almost four years for him to realise that losing eyesight is not a handicap for education. But when he became aware of his brilliance, he continued his education and went on to finish his degree and started a school for the visually challenged.

Meet S.M.A. Jinnah, recipient of the best affiliate award of Indian Confederation of the Blind - Millennium Award 2000.

He may be a visually challenged person but never lacks in vision. When he started the blind school at the Sundararajanpatti in 1984, his sole aim was to improve the educational standards of the visually challenged children. After two decades his goal remains the same — the only change is that he is doing it for more visually challenged.

For Jinnah, a devout Muslim, providing education to the visually challenged has always been a dream project.

Throughout his education, he was one of the top three rank holders. After his B.Ed. and M.Ed. he went to the Boston University for a diploma in teaching for the visually challenged. Nothing could stop Jinnah from winning accolades, as there too he received the international Rotary award for teachers of the handicapped in recognition of his service.

Then he started the school for the visually challenged at K.K. Nagar with technical assistance from G.Venkataswamy, founder of the Aravind Eye Hospitals.

The school was handed over to the Government. Then he established the Indian Association for the Blind (IAB) at Sundararajanpatti with just Rs.6000. But now, the school caters for 320 students. The campus houses a higher secondary school from Standard VI to Standard XII, an industrial school and a library with equipment worth Rs.20 lakh.

When he recalls his efforts to mobilise funds for the construction in the 30,000 sq.ft. land, he is overwhelmed with sense of gratitude for the Madurai public, for, he says that the major contribution came from them.

TSN

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