Heena Rathi, a 22-year old girl with visual impairment was determined to become a District Collector and has succeeded in cracking the UPSC Prelims in her very first attempt, becoming the first girl from Gujarat to do so. Heena, the daughter of a tea-stall owner in Palanpur was a student of the Smt M.K. Mehta School for the Visually Impaired run by Vidyamandir Trust.
Born with weak eyesight, Heena tragically totally lost her vision by the age of eight, but she was determined to study and do well in life. Inspired by a film she had seen on television and with the encouragement and backing of her family, especially her grandfather, the young girl enrolled in the M.K. Mehta school, where she studied right up to the 12th standard.
Shifting for higher studies to Ahmedabad, Heena completed her BA in English Literature and put in a rigorous effort while preparing for the UPSC preliminary examination this year. Despite the many obstacles she faced in getting access to training and study material, Heena’s sheer determination saw he passing the first stage successfully – among the only 150 students who passed from across the state out of 2,500 candidates.
Speaking to the media, Heena pointed out that there were no special online courses for the visually impaired to prepare for the UPSC exam, nor were the study materials available in Braille.
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