The Story of Yi-Hsuan: Rebuilding a life after blindness

“I barely spoke to strangers and now I am selling to them.”

Before Yi-Hsuan lost her eyesight she worked as a designer who created visual compositions. Even as a congenital glaucoma patient, she never thought that blindness would come so soon. “Several years ago, after my sudden retinal detachment, I lost vision permanently, and from that moment the grief of being blind consumed me. For six months I could not step out from my room.”

Yi-Hsuan’s father was frequently away on business, and so she was brought up by her grandmother. Her grandmother was her greatest support during this darkest time in her life, and thus taking good care of her grandmother became Yi-Hsuan’s strong motivation to pursue rehabilitation.

During her rehabilitation, a social worker introduced her to the Technology Development Association for the Disabled (TWACC), an NGO that provides such professional services as orientation and mobility training and vocational rehabilitation. It is a long and tough journey for people with acquired blindness to restore their abilities and rebuild their lives. Even worse, Yi-Hsuan’s grandmother passed away one year after she lost eyesight. This tragedy made the reha- bilitation journey even harder and lonelier.

I really appreciated the trainers from TWACC, who never gave up on me and who supported and encouraged me regardless of how bad my condition was. The four years of personal and vocational rehabilitation were extraordinarily difficult, but finally those efforts paid off when I received a job offer from a telecommunications company as a telesales person.

Aside from traveling between home and work, the first thing I needed to learn was how to communicate effectively,” declared Yi-Hsuan. “In the first four to five years of rehabilitation I only talked to social workers and trainers, and barely spoke to people I did not know. And then the job I was offered required me to sell things to sheer strangers!

Read more about the SCB’s ‘Seeing is believing’ project.