Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blind student achieves varsity dream

New Straits Times, 20 july 2006

20 Jul 2006
Minderjeet Kaur

KUALA LUMPUR: Gomathi Supbramaniam has finally fulfilled her aspirations: She is going to university.

This may not be an extraordinary accomplishment for an able-bodied person but Gomathi is no ordinary person. She is blind.

But the gutsy woman did not allow her disability to prevent her from reaching for the sky.

"Since my world is constantly in darkness, I had to struggle hard to read and write. But my efforts have paid off. I am going to university," said the beaming 22-year-old as she grasped the offer letter from Universiti Malaya.

Gomathi, who was born blind, said she would be enrolling in a three-year degree course in Malay Studies this week.

Her application for a place in the university was rejected last month because she was inactive in co-curricular activities which carry a 10 per cent weightage in the calculation of points for entry.

The MIC Youth Education Bureau and the Peninsular Malaysia Indian Graduates’ Coalition had then appealed to the Higher Education Ministry on her behalf.

After all, how could one expect a blind person to participate in activities as actively as a person with sight?

The bureau’s chairman, P. Kamalanathan, said the ministry decided to give her the opportunity to continue her studies.

He said the university had all the facilities for the blind, such as Braille books, and Gomathi would not be facing any difficulty.

Gomathi, who wants to be a teacher, said: "I want this degree. Not only to fulfil my dreams but also to motivate others who are less fortunate to excel in education."

Her mother, Marathan Ramasamy, 50, said Gomathi had put in a lot of effort and time to score A in Malay Literature, B+ in History and Cs in Bahasa Melayu and General Studies in the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia examination.

"It has been a struggle for me to educate Gomathi. There were always additional books and stationery that she needed," she said at her home here yesterday.

Taking a deep breath, Marathan, a tailor, said all her patience and effort had paid off as her eldest daughter would be going to university.

"But I have also told her that her real struggle starts now. She has to continue studying hard to excel in her studies to graduate," added the mother-of-three who is proud of her daughter’s achievement.


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