Meet Beno Zephine, the first IFS officer with 100% visual disability

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Victor is the one who finds way even in dim moon light. But for 25-year-old Beno Zephine, who has been blind since birth, it’s all about playing it in the dark.

It is astounding how she comes off with flying colours despite physical drawbacks. The girl from Chennai has set an inspiration—even for the able-bodied world—by becoming the first 100 per cent visually challenged officer in IFS.

Here’s her inspiring journey so far:

She was never resigned to the fact that disabilities can be a hurdle in the way of success. Rather she had firm belief in what Helen Keller said: “I cannot do everything but I can do something, and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do”.

She secured the 343rd rank in the Civil Services Examination 2013.

She began learning Braille from LKG. She was enrolled at the Little Flower convent and completed her graduation in English Literature from Stella Maris College before pursuing her post-graduation in the same subject from Madras University.

She was working as a probationary officer with the State Bank of India until the news of her selection in the civil services arrived.

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Her father, Luke Anthony Charles, a railways employee, and mother Mary Padmaja, a homemaker, have been her bulwark. Her mother mostly read out books to her. But she prepared notes for Indian Polity using Braille, as it helped her remember the facts well.

Zephine is a staunch enthusiast who gave her peers at Little Flower convent a piece of her mind as they were wasting water by letting the taps run. She is determined to work for the welfare of the poor and the downtrodden.

She likes to talk a lot. As an active kid in her school and college, she often participated in debates and extempore competitions.

Zephine is also tech-savvy and tried to get rid of the dependence on Braille books by switching to Job Access With Speech (JAWS), a software which allows the visually impaired to read from a computer screen.

While the move of allowing 100 per cent visually challenged people into foreign services brings new hope to aspirants who lack 20:20 vision, Zephine has driven home the message that eyes are a mere manifestation, what we actually need is a strong vision.

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