Tiffany Brar

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Tiffany Brar
Tiffany Maria Brar.jpg
Tiffany Brar, January 2015
Personal details
Born
Tiffany Maria Brar

14 September 1990
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
ParentsTej Pratap Singh Brar,
Leslie Brar
Alma materRamakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, Coimbatore
OccupationFounder of Jyothirgamaya Foundation, Disability Rights Activist
ProfessionSocial worker, Special educator
Known forSocial activist, Motivational Speaker, Inclusion, Disability rights and Advocacy
AwardsNational Award for Best Role model from the President of India

Tiffany Brar is an Indian community service worker, who became blind after birth due to an overdose of oxygen, resulted to complete blindness. She is the founder of the Jyothirgamaya Foundation, a non-profit organization whose stated mission is to help blind people in all spheres of life to gain the skills needed for a successful and smooth existence. She is a social activist and trainer, working to create awareness of disability. She is an advocate for building an inclusive society.[1]

Biography[edit]

"I envision a society without any physical or psychological barriers towards the blind – a barrier-free environment where the blind can walk freely, can travel, can work, think for themselves, and live proud and dignified lives like other citizens. Society thinks that we can only sing sweet songs, only become teachers and telephone operators in the bank. But we can do more. We can dance, we can fire juggle, we can do martial arts, we can become managers and directors of companies. But society is constantly interpreting what we can do and what we can't. This has to change very soon,"-

Tiffany Brar[2]

Tiffany Brar, originally from northern India, was born in Chennai.She became blind very shortly after her birth due to an overdose of oxygen resulting in complete blindness. The daughter of an Indian military officer, Brar had the advantage of traveling to many areas. Since she was blind, verbal communication was very important and as a result, she became multilingual.[3] During her childhood, Brar learned to speak five Indian languages fluently. She started her schooling in Great Britain while her father was posted there. She then returned to India and studied in schools for the blind, in integrated schools, and in military schools which were not at all specialized for the blind. After completing her primary education in Kerala, her father was transferred to Darjeeling, where she studied at the Mary Scott homes for the blind. Her mother's death left her in a situation which required her to learn many things for herself. During her school days as a blind person, she faced many challenges. For instance, she was made to sit at the back of the class and at times was not even allowed to answer questions. Her Braille notes either arrived too late or did not arrive at all. She was sheltered and protected by her parents and did not know how to venture out independently to take care of her own affairs until her early 20s. She was constantly relying on sighted people to take her to school, to college, and to other places. Because of this, Brar learned daily living skills very late in life.

Constant segregation and isolation by her classmates and not being included in various events because she was blind also instilled in her an inner drive to change the situation of the blind in Kerala. Though North Indian by origin, Brar lives in Kerala. She reached the first position in her 12th grade along with her sighted counterparts in her CBSE board exam.

After completing her schooling, she went on to complete her degree in English literature from the government women's college in Trivandrum in 2006. After the completion of her degree in 2009, she started working for an organization. She had to travel to various organizations where she came across many underprivileged blind people who were confined within the four walls of their home and who lacked proper training. This urged her to move forward and create her organization, the Jyothirgamaya Foundation.

After working for two years Brar pursued her B.Ed in special education (visual impairment) from Sree Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University in Coimbatore. In 2012, she began running the Jyothirgamaya (which means "leading to light") mobile school for the blind.

Brar now travels alone not only in Trivandrum, her place of residence, but also to other parts of the state and abroad.[4][1]

Career[edit]

Tiffany began her career as a receptionist in an organization, after that, she went to pursue her B.Ed in special education from Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University which equipped her with the skills and zest to found the Jyothirgamaya Foundation in July 2012.[5] Research in Kerala found that even though blind children go to school and some blind adults are job holders, they do not have proper mobility and other skills required to assimilate into mainstream society. The reason behind this is that the blind are hidden within the four walls of their homes and are constantly made to believe that they cannot venture out alone and fend for themselves.[6][7]

One of the main reasons for setting up a mobile blind school is that due to poverty, lack of awareness, and negligence on the part of parents and guardians, many blind people who are residing in the rural areas are unable to go to schools or training centers. Brar's concept behind a mobile blind school is that "If the blind cannot go to school then the school shall go to them."[8]

Tiffany has been running the Jyothirgamaya since 2012 and has trained many blind people in Braille, mobility, basic computer use, and other necessary life skills. She has also recently initiated a pilot project, Road to Independence, which aims to conduct training camps in all districts of Kerala in order to reach out to the blind in large numbers. She is a motivational speaker and she conducts sensitization sessions for attitudinal change towards disability. She has served as an ambassador for the WWF Earth Hour campaign conducted in 2016 in India.[9]

Activism[edit]

Tiffany Brar while protesting for accessible currency in Trivandrum,2018

On facing challenges as a girl with a disability Tiffany was determined to make a difference in the lives of disabled colleagues. She founded her organization Jyothirgamaya Foundation which serves to empower and reintegrate the blind into mainstream society. She gets out to create social change in her state. She believes that persons with disability should have equal rights and should be able to raise their voices to raise their opinions and leaves a dignified life.

She has given a talk where the Commissioner of Police was present she enlightened him about the traffic rules and how insensitive drivers are while driving on the road towards persons with disabilities. She has had meetings with the governor of state with members of parliament and members of the Legislative Assembly on making and accessible environment in for persons with disabilities in India. She strongly advocates for accessible currency notes, accessible roads, women empowerment, and gender equality. With a group of her blind people, she protested in Trivandrum city to call for action for accessible currency notes. She goes on to raise awareness and advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities as enshrined in the United Nation convention for the rights of persons with disabilities and The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.She was invited to Germany , Poland and Belgium for conducting sensitization programs.

 "why don’t we root the positive in each and everyone’s life instead of searching the negatives in them”?  Why don’t we love and accept others with their strengths and weakness? Why don’t we break the barriers and traditions that are followed blindly, which doesn’t help the community in which we are living? Why don’t we smile and acknowledge others at least for a second, which can cause a tremendous change in others lives?"~Tiffany Brar

Equal Adventure[edit]

Her blindness did not stop her from being adventurous. She wanted to enable the society to understand that blind people can travel alone, enjoy sports, recreational activities and adventure as equivalent to the sighted counterparts.she has broken the barriers laid down by a society which says that blind people can’t take a risk and can’t enjoy life equally. She did paragliding, skydiving, rope climbing, rope riding and tandem cycling.

Tiffy Template[edit]

Picture was taken during her participation in the screening of a documentary about social changemakers across the globe at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium in the year 2017

The Tiffy template is a unique innovation for the blind. It is the brainchild of Tiffany Brar and the invention of Paul D'souza an illustrious inventor. It was named 'The Tiffy Template', after Tiffany Brar who triggered the concept. It is a small template which identifies Indian currency notes. This avoids the blind people from being cheated by shopkeepers, auto drivers, and so on!

Appearances in films / Talk shows[edit]

  • In 2017 Documentary film titled പ്രകാശം പരത്തുന്ന ഒരു പെണ്കുട്ടി ( 'A girl who emit radiance') based on Tiffany Brar's life story directed by A.V.Thampan won Kerala State Award for Best Documentary
  • In 2017 Talk Show Lal Salam (talk show) with Mohanlal

Awards[edit]

Tiffany Brar receiving National Award from the Honourable President of India, Dr.Ram Nath Kovind
  • In 2012, she received the Kerala State Award for Social Worker.
  • In 2015, she received the Women of the Year Award from Hope Trust.
  • In 2016, she received the For the Sake of Honour Award, Rotary International's highest award.
  • In 2016, she received the Prestigious Saarthak Naari Women Achievers Award
  • In 2017, she received the Bold and Beautiful Award from Doordarshan.
  • In 2017, she received the Sarojini Trilok Nath-National Best Role Model Award from National Association for the Blind
  • In 2017, she received the Age of Unknown Award by TEDx vazthacaud
  • In 2017, she received the National award for being a 'Best role model' from the President of India
  • In 2018, she received the Women of the Year Award from Job Day Foundation
  • In 2018, she received the Make A Difference Award from Rotary International
  • In 2018, she received the Women of Vision Kerala vanitha Rathna Award
  • In 2018, she received the Phoenix Award from Padmasree Mammooty
  • In 2018, she received the Vocational Excellence Award from Rotary International
  • In 2018, she received the Real Hero Award by ZEE Tv from Vivek Oberoi , Omung Kumar and Huma Qureshi
  • In 2018, she received karma Rathna Award for Outstanding social worker from Palm International
  • In 2018, she received Hellen Keller award from National Center for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People(NCPEDP),awarded by Dr. Sathya Pal Singh, Hon'ble Minister of State for Human Resource Development ,Government of India
  • In 2019, she received Neelam Khurshid Kanga Award from National Association for the Blind Bombay Awarded by John Abraham
  • In 2019, she received Wonder Woman Award for her Community service from Ladies Circle India
  • In 2019, she received Iconic women for making the world a better place Award from Women Economic Forum

Recognition[edit]

Tiffany Brar with former president of India Dr.A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

References[edit]

[10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23][24] [25]

  1. ^ "Welcome to Jyothirgamaya Foundation! | Jyothirgamaya". www.jyothirgamayaindia.org. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Jyothirgamaya Foundation".
  3. ^ "Dispelling Darkness- Jyothirgamaya Foundation's Tiffany Brar". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  4. ^ "From darkness to light". The Hindu. 7 January 2016. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Behold a world unseen". The Hindu. 23 July 2012. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  6. ^ "They Say the Blind Should Not Lead the Blind. She Proves Them Wrong". The Better India. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Tiffany Brar, the blind woman who now lead other people through 'Jyothirgamaya' - MotivateMe.in". MotivateMe.in. 7 January 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  8. ^ "A Star Named 'Tiffany'". The Citizen. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Interview Of The Week: Outshining The Darkness - Trivandrum News | Yentha.com". www.yentha.com. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  10. ^ "For Your Eyes Only".
  11. ^ Visually Impaired Teacher Helps Others See the World NDTV
  12. ^ "Reading notes in a jiffy".
  13. ^ "Lighting up Lives_The Tribune". 25 October 2015.
  14. ^ Krishnan, Madhuvanti S. (7 January 2016). "From darkness to light". The Hindu – via www.thehindu.com.
  15. ^ "Bengaluru man invents device to help the blind distinguish fake currency". 31 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Read How Visually Impaired Tiffany Brar Is Changing Lives Of Others Like Her - Indian Women Blog - Stories of Indian Women". 8 September 2015.
  17. ^ "Tiffany Brar-Life is Beautiful-Athmeeya Yathra Television". 15 February 2017.
  18. ^ "Ability beyond disability - Taaza Khabar News". 1 June 2015.
  19. ^ "Doordarsan_Live".
  20. ^ Every Women is a wonder
  21. ^ It's not sympathy that Blind needs Manorama News
  22. ^ "വെളിച്ചത്തിലേക്ക്‌ നടക്കാം കൂട്ടിന്‌ ടിഫാനിയുണ്ട്‌".
  23. ^ "Carpe diem in Europe!". 7 July 2017.
  24. ^ http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/2018/may/17/cinema-for-thought-1815616.html Kerala State Award for Best documentary_Prakasham Parathunna Penkutty'
  25. ^ Anandaraj.K (7 August 2018). "எல்லாம் நல்லபடியா நடக்கும்! - டிஃபனி பிரார் - Tiffany Brar is best role model - Aval Vikatan - அவள் விகடன்".

External links[edit]