Bengaluru: With difficulties in coping with her own struggles in finishing her education, Pushpa Priya has been instrumental in helping more than 700 people completing theirs. Pushpa is a recipient of the Nari Shakti Puraskar for her contribution in helping the visually impaired and others with disabilities by writing their exams.

Pushpa Priya juggles between her job at an IT Firm and writing exams for people with disabilities.

Her voluntary work began in 2007 and she has since written 719 exams.

Recalling her time while writing exams Pushpa said, “When we would write exams, we would be waiting to be done with it. But when I understood the reality of such things. I took it seriously.”

Pushpa spoke to MyNation about how writing as a scribe piqued her. “I live close to a school that is for the visually impaired. I would often question them about how they wrote their exams. At one such time, the other person asked me if I could help him write his exam. I agreed.”

There was no turning back for Pushpa ever since. She mostly writes for the visually impaired, but she also is a scribe for those with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other disabilities.

Speaking about the challenges she faces, Pushpa said, “It is very challenging sometimes. We need to often repeat questions, and sometimes we may not understand what they’re saying.”

Managing an IT job and doing this on the side is not easy, said Pushpa, who added, “If we want to do something, we can. There are challenges at every step, but there must be a will to do something. Then, we can.”

Pushpa completed her education via correspondence. She took breaks in between in order to mobilise fees for the next year. Eventually, she completed her BA, six years ago.

Despite her own difficulties, nothing stopped her will to give back to society.

Pushpa told MyNation about the difficulties people with disabilities face in learning portions. “They have no access to clarify doubts. I even record portions on mp3, so that they can listen to it,” said Pushpa.

Pushpa is now part of a group of people who not only act as scribes for the disabled during exams, but also coordinate and volunteer when possible with some NGOs, who try to make reading material more accessible and disabled-friendly.

Although Pushpa does not have formal training in interacting with people affected by cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, she manages to communicate with them.

“I think I am blessed to have patience. That is important,” quipped Pushpa.

Apart from wanting to give back, what also drives Pushpa to continue being a scribe for the disabled is the gratitude for having her own senses intact.

“Today, I am able to see, hear and write. If I can use these abilities to help someone else who has just as much talent to one day be independent, why not do it?” she says.

In the group of volunteers that Pushpa is part of, there are people from all walks of life – those in between jobs, students, IT workers, housewives and more.

Even though they are a network of at least a thousand people, they do fall short on the requests they receive sometimes. And sometimes, scribes bail at the last moment. Pushpa hopes to make others realise that this is something they can do.

She wishes more people could contribute in forming a better society.