ISLAMABAD: A Man named Asif Patel would pull apart toys and transistor radios, depending only on his sense of touch to restructure them, having been deprived of his sight by a rare condition that meant he was blind by birth.
Now he is a renowned mechanic with his own workshop in Pakistan’s extensive metropolis of Karachi, Patel’s story is a rare story of success in a country which offers few opportunities for the blind.
At a small workshop that employs seven people in the city’s Lasbela area customers come and go, leaving their cars in the trusted hands of their old mechanic.
Patel, 44, makes his way over to an older Toyota, pops open the bonnet and places his hands inside, feeling the out-of-tune whirring of the carburettor and carefully making adjustments.
He said I used to play with things.
He also added, ““Whenever my dad brought things I would open them up, then try to fit it back how I opened it, and I saw how it worked.”
According to the Fred Hollows Foundation, Pakistan has nearly two million blind people with more than half afflicted due to treatable conditions like cascades.
Opportunities for the blind like those with other disabilities are few most of them are begging on streets to fulfill their needs.
He said he was encouraged at home. He also explains the key to his success is his keen sense of touch. “It is important for us that we touch, and see how it is, and what it is.”
Asif added that it has not always been a smooth ride.
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