24yo Visually Impaired USM Graduate Aims To Become Braille Book Translator

Breaking barriers.
If you’ve got the determination, nothing can stand in your way, and this lad is the perfect example.

Rishan Ponraj, who recently clinched his bachelor’s degree in English language from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and is also a person with disabilities, is now gearing up for an exciting journey as he sets his sights on becoming a Braille book translator.

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Rishan ponraj holding his award certificate while his mother kissing him.
Photo via Harian Metro

This 24-year-old Malaysian youngster, is not only marked by academic excellence but is also a source of inspiration for overcoming physical challenges, as reported by Harian Metro.

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Rishan has faced cataracts and glaucoma since birth, things that would’ve made most people throw in the towel on their dreams.

But guess what? With a spirit that just won’t quit, Rishan not only aced his studies but also nailed the number one spot in a Braille reading competition up north during his time at USM.

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Signage of usm at their campus.
Photo via Sinar Harian.

Rishan encountered some serious hurdles, not just in his studies but also with all the chaos from COVID-19 when he started university.

But he handled it like a pro!

It wasn’t until his final year that Rishan experienced the sweet, sweet flavor of traditional on-campus learning.

Thanks to some carefully crafted SOPs, he finally got to swap pixels for real faces in the classroom.

Tech Magic

He also shares the technological advancements that have made learning more accessible for visually impaired individuals.

Armed with the latest tech, including computers, laptops, and voice-guided devices, along with nifty screen reader apps reading text aloud, Rishan conquered his academic challenges with flair.

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Yet, when faced with materials featuring diagrams, his awesome friends came to the rescue, transforming visuals into formats perfectly compatible with Rishan’s tools.

“I am grateful to be surrounded by friends willing to assist by rewriting descriptions of the diagrams to make them compatible with the capabilities of the application. It touches my heart,” he said

Beyond kicking academic goals, Rishan’s got some down-to-earth advice for those who are dealing with similar hurdles.

He encourages people with disabilities to seize opportunities for learning and adventures, pointing out the various options available, especially for those eyeing higher education.

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For anyone out there with a spark for learning, Rishan says, “If you have a passion for learning, don’t give up and always seek solutions when faced with problems because it will be the most valuable ‘lesson’ in life,”

So, here’s to Rishan Ponraj – the guy who turned obstacles into stepping stones and showed us all that life’s challenges are just pit stops on the road to success.


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