Two visually impaired women receive Ph.D degrees

Kathmandu, May 21: Laxmi Pokhrel and Sweta Singh have against all odds including visually impairment successfully attained Ph.D degree to become the first blind women students to hold this degree from their Tribhuvan University (TU) and Jawaharlal Nehru Students (JNU), India respectively. They have proven that a strong will and hard labour are more significant than eyesight to acquire (advance) academic knowledge.

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

Obviously, for Pokhrel, a mother of two daughters, it was not easy to pursue advance academic degree for being a woman and more so a blind woman. But Pokharel said she made 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 Master’s 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 the Delhi-based University, she got enrolled at JNU in 2012 to purse the Ph.D degree.

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 today. Minister of State for Finance Damodar Bhandari pledged that the upcoming budget would increase social security allowance for the blind.
Association Chair Ramesh Pokhrel said 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. RSS