We are still living in a society that looks down upon disability by a majority. There’s still a long way to go to accept the unaccepted.
Here’s a story of Srikanth Bolla, a 24-year-old who was born without sight and is now the CEO of Hyderabad-based Bollant Industries, an organisation that employs uneducated and disabled employees to manufacture eco-friendly, disposable consumer packaging solutions, which is worth Rs 50 crores.
He was born in a remote village on the east coast of Andhra Pradesh. His parents were suggested by the villagers to abandon him just because he’s blind. According to YourStory, Bolla said, "Scores of parents ordinarily did and still do - abandon babies born with disabilities,"
Luckily, his parents chose a different path and continued to raise and educate him with love and affection even though they owned a small plot of land and earned Rs. 20,000 per annum.
(Picture Source: Youtube)
“They are the richest people I know,” says Srikanth.
Fast forward 24 years and a confident Srikanth Bolla revealed to YourStory that if the “world looks at me and says, ‘Srikanth, you can do nothing,’ I look back at the world and say I can do anything."
Bolla accompanied his father to the farm, upon realizing he wasn't of much use there, his father decided to send him to school. As a result, he was treated indiscriminately, he was pushed to the back bench and was made fun of. His father migrated him to a school for special children where he not only topped his classes but he also discovered an aptitude for chess and cricket. He also got an opportunity to work for “Lead India Project”, a movement to empower youth through value-based education, with former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
(Picture Source: Youtube)
Even after scoring 90% in his 10th boards, he was not allowed to pursue further studies with Science as a stream. He fought it out with the government and was allowed to take up science. Furthermore, he couldn't take competitive entrances in India because of his disability. He applied for IIT, BITS Pilani, and other top engineering colleges, but did not manage to get a hall ticket.
"I got a letter saying ‘you are blind, hence, you are not allowed to apply for competitive exams.’ If IIT did not want me, I did not want IIT either. How long can you fight?” he told YourStory.
Moreover, Srikanth started applying to Universities abroad and became the first international blind student to be admitted to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.