100 percent visually impaired since birth, NL Beno Zephine fought against all odds to become India’s first IFS officer. Her family read for long hours to help her prepare and she used special software to read from the computer screen.
1. NL Beno Zephine, a 25-year old girl from Tamil Nadu, created history by becoming the country’s first 100 percent visually challenged Indian Foreign Services (IFS) officer.
2. Ever since Zephine received the news from the government of securing the 343rd rank in the Civil Services Examination of 2013, she has been busy giving motivational speeches and addressing students across the state.
Having gone through all the difficulties and finally emerging as a winner, Zephine advises other people with disabilities to never give up on their dreams and utilise the resources available to them.
3. A post-graduate in English from Madras University, Beno worked as a probationary worker at State Bank of India.
But one phone call from the Ministry of External Affairs, who called to confirm her selection in IFS, changed her life forever.
4. A socially active person from childhood, Beno always gave a piece of her mind to those who would leave the taps on and waste water.
Her friends and family would call her a “collector” because of her quality to stand for what she believed in.
5. Though Zephine cleared her UPSC exam last year, she received confirmation on her posting on June 12.
She is now all set to join the ministry within next 60 days of the training.
6. Visually impaired since birth, Zephine never let her disability come in her way of achieving her dreams. And an extremely supportive family, friends and teachers made her reach the place where she is today.
7. As there is not enough study material available in Braille, her family and friends read for long hours to help her prepare for her exams.
While her father fulfilled her desire of getting any book she required, her mother helped her extensively in the reading process.
8. She also used Job Access With Speech (JAWS), a software that allows the visually challenged to read from a computer screen.
The software can be used on a smartphone too.
9. Former diplomats have backed this decision as many deserving and promising candidates lost out on the opportunity due to a lack of 20:20 vision.
10. An active student throughout, Zephine participated in various debate and extempore competitions in school and is looking forward to now speaking as a diplomat.
Kudos to the girl who has proved that nothing can beat strong determination and hard work.