Before 2013, Shashi worked at a call centre and lived her life without any major worries.
She enjoyed cooking, socialising with friends and family, and the thrill of finding new pieces of jewellery to match with outfits.
In 2013, Shashi received news that would forever impact her life.
She was diagnosed retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary condition that would lead to her becoming legally blind.
Having no family history of the condition, it came as quite a shock.
“I cried when I heard the news. I thought ‘why has this happened to me?’ I was really scared about my future and didn’t know how I could work," Shashi said.
Shashi was made redundant from her job in 2014.
Over the next eight years, Shashi would go on to learn several different strategies and pieces of assistive technology to support her to re-enter the workforce.
Pointed towards Vision Australia, Shashi found it was hearing the stories of others who are blind or low vision that truly motivated her, and showed her that a future where she was working again was possible.
“Through hearing others’ stories, I came to know that I am not the only person in the world with this type of disability.”
Shashi worked with several employment consultants over the years at Vision Australia.
Each one would work with her through the job application process, run mock interviews, and even take her to job interviews.
Throughout this time, Shashi was made aware of various pieces of assistive technology that helped her get her computer skills back up to the level they were at before her diagnosis.
Shashi started out learning to use magnification software ZoomText, before moving on learn JAWS, a commonly used screen-reader. .
A new start
When she finally secured a new job in 2021, Shashi was overcome with emotion.
“I am proud of myself for what I have achieved. Life is full of challenges and it is important to never lose hope and give up.”
Today, Shashi works for Serco Contract and is overwhelmed by the support offered by her team leader Jessique, and her fellow team members Robert and Moiz, who also have low vision and have made her transition into this new role as smooth as possible.
“Disability is not the barrier, disabled people can also do work but in a different way.”
Vision Australia has continued to work with Shashi since she started her new role via post-placement support, making sure her work remains accessible and that her employer meets her needs.
Shashi has worked with numerous Vision Australia staff over the years.
She is particularly thankful to employment consultants Belinda Wilson and Carla Rawlins, who worked with her to develop those essential employee skills, and to assistive technology specialist Ken Baker who helped her transition from ZoomText to JAWS.
Shashi still enjoys cooking, and while she may require a bit more time to get the measurements exactly right, she gets by with the support of her family and friends.
She also still enjoys finding that perfect piece of jewellery to match her outfit.
If you'd like to learn more about how Vision Australia's employment services team could help you, click here or give our team a call on 1300 84 74 66.