Inspiring Stories

Once Ashamed Of His Blindness, He Provides Livelihood To People With Disabilities

From actively participating in activities like cricket, running and cycling to isolating himself, life took a 180-degree turn for Vineet Saraiwala when he was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa

Written By: | Edited By: | April 12, 2024 हिन्दी में पढ़े

New Delhi: “My blindness is outside my sphere of control. So I try to focus on my strengths and forget the rest,” says Vineet Saraiwala, Founder-CEO of Atypical Advantage, a talent acquisition company for people with disabilities.

Vineet was 15 years old when he was told that he was slowly going blind. Twenty years later now, he is completely blind in his left eye and has just 10 per cent vision left in the right eye.

“I used to wear spectacles as a kid but still couldn’t see properly, especially at night,” he recalls.

“My vision dropped drastically during my teen years. I started facing challenges, such as struggling in the school science lab where I found it difficult to handle test tubes with precision. It was then that the diagnosis happened. Later, during surgery, I lost vision in my left eye. I was no longer independent from a mobility point of view.”

From participating in activities like cricket, running, and cycling to isolating himself, life took a 180-degree turn for Vineet. It took him almost a decade to accept his disability and live with it.

“My left eye is visibly smaller than the right eye and people would point it out to me. I started wearing tinted glass to hide my eyes. I was ashamed of myself. I would blame myself for not being able to see.”

This changed when he made it to the Indian Institute of Management in Bengaluru.

Also Read: A Blind Photographer’s Vision Of The World

After college, he went on to work with the Future Group, making shopping accessible for Persons with Disability in India. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he would receive CVs from people with disabilities. This prompted him to take the plunge and start his venture.

Vineet says,

“I firmly believe that unless a person with disability earns money, they don’t get the confidence. We help performing artists, visual artists, and job seekers find suitable jobs.”

In three years, Atypical Advantage has helped 3,000 people. “We are aiming at taking this number to a million in the next ten years,” declares Vineet.

It’s not all work and no play for this 35-year-old. He goes surfing, has cycled 5k, ran seven half marathons and has trekked a few times. He says,

“Limits lie in our mind. All my work is meant to break biases and convey to people that the sky is the limit.”

Also Read: Visually Impaired: How Cricketers Eye The Boundary

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