Visually challenged Ashwini Angadi was felicitated by the UN

In a story of remarkable grit and resolve a visually challenged young woman from Chellagurki village in Bellary made a journey to New York, U.S.A.

Ashwini Angadi, the 23-year-old national facilitator with Young Voices, was among seven young women who were chosen for the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education’s Gordon Brown Youth Achiever’s Award. The award was given away on July 12 as part of Malala Day celebrations.

Speaking to The Hindu, Ms. Angadi said that she was born with the impairment. Her family, though despondent at first, supported her and admitted her to the Ramana Maharishi School for the Blind. She stayed at the hostel in J.P. Nagar and stood first in her school in the SSLC examination. She later studied PUC at the NMKRV College for Women and B.A. at the Maharani’s College of Arts and Commerce.

“It was difficult for me to adjust to the environment at both NMKRV and Maharani’s. There was little scope for me to study individually. I asked for computer systems with special software. But due to a shortage of funds, it was not possible for the college to provide it. The lecturers, however, were very helpful. This year, Maharani’s College has procured computers for visually challenged students,” she said.

Soon after graduating, she started working with Young Voices, a project by the UK-based Leonard Cheshire Disability. Ms. Angadi said her work involved helping the disabled fight for rights enshrined in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

About how she was chosen for the award, she said she least expected it. “I was only asked to submit my speech. My speech was about my life experiences. It came as a surprise when I was informed that I was going to get the award.”

Ms. Angadi shared the dais at the U.N. with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education activist who was shot at by the Taliban, former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Ban Ki-Moon, UN’s Secretary-General. “I did not think much of my life until I received the award. I just tried to do my best in all my endeavours. It felt good when Malala came up to me later and said I was an inspiration to young girls around the world.”

“We did not expect her to win the award. We are now relieved and confident that she has the wherewithal to stand on her own feet.” her parents Prakash and Vedavathy Angadi said. Mr. Angadi runs a travel company.