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Coming Full Circle – the Gift of Mobility

Prabath Wickramanayake lives a full and free life - and he attributes that to the orientation and mobility training he received. Now, through his Brightening Life organization, he wants to give that same gift to other blind and visually impaired folks who may not have access.

Prabath stands outdoors on the steps of a wooded trail covered in autumn leaves, holding his mobility cane

I had a little chuckle to myself recently, when it was brought to my attention yet again, how so much of what I love to do and what I pursue are what people presume are “sighted things.”

Living this way has led me on the most amazing adventures all over the world, and filled my heart with so much joy – and yet whenever I think about this fact, I am also left thinking about just how important the gift of “mobility” has been to my life.

You see, if I had not received the brilliant orientation and mobility training (O&M) that was provided to me by Vision Australia (that I began in 2011 after becoming completely blind due to retinitis pigmentosa), so much of what I have achieved since that time would simply not have been possible.

The skills and confidence that mobility training has given me is exactly what has freed me up to be able to continue following my heart and chasing my passions and generally just living a life on my own terms – and I am beyond grateful for this.

Yet as I have continuously seen along my travels, there are so many in this world who are not so lucky – and to me, this is the saddest thing.

While I am over here living an amazingly full and free life as a blind man, some people across the world are not able to be as free – simply because they don’t have access to the same gift of mobility that I did.

This is always devastating to see, because I know that despite their inability to see, these people have all of the same passions and dreams and abilities that I do – all they need is a chance to show that, and to know it for themselves.

Turning my passion into progress

So, this is how I find myself today coming full circle, with my latest passion being to give that gift of mobility back to as many blind people as possible – so that they too can be free to follow their passions and their hearts.

Through my organization Brightening Life, I have begun the Nethravi Mobility Training Program in Sri Lanka, which provides orientation and mobility training to blind men and women throughout the island – and I am so thrilled to be able to do this.

Because, speaking from my own experience, a life without passion is no life at all – and this is why mobility training is the most crucial thing for a blind person.

As our freedom to move expands, so does our life – and this is something we all should be passionate about.

About the author

Prabath Wickramanayake lives in Melbourne, Australia. He is a renowned disability advocate who is passionate about improving freedom of movement for underprivileged blind youths.

You can follow his organization, Brightening Life, on Facebook and connect with him on LinkedIn.

For more from Prabath, read his previous #MyBlindStory posts, Capturing Unique Moments: Perspective from a Blind Photographer and “Yes, Let’s Do It!”

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