Omar Harrinanan’s vision for his life extended well beyond what he could physically see.
The 20-year-old was born visually impaired but was able to see slightly through his right eye until another student bumped into him at age 9 causing him to lose most of his sight.
“I am not going to be one of those people who say it is not a disadvantage, it is a disadvantage, but I am just like a regular person in Trinidad living on or above the poverty line,” Omar told Guardian Media.
Omar attended the School for Blind and then went on to the Bon Air West Secondary school where he wrote the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exam.
“When I got my results (S.E.A.) from that, it turned out that I had pass for Servol and I had to get a transfer to Bon Air West and I’m lucky that they decided to take the chance and through that even though they may have had the resources to cater for someone like me, they still tried and I am proud that they tried,” he expressed.
Despite not getting assistance to buy books and the technology needed for his online schooling, Omar said he always made do with whatever little he had and reaped the rewards having passed all subjects.
“As little as I could get from my parents buying books or buying a laptop, although it may have had challenges along the way, once you set in your mind that ‘aye, you want to reach somewhere, you can do it,” he said.
“Honestly, when I saw the results, I didn’t cry, I didn’t jump. I was shocked but I was happy that I passed because that was my main goal,” he added.
Omar got a grade two in English A, Spanish, grade one in Mathematics, Human Social Biology, Accounts and Social Studies and distinctions in Information Technology and Principles of Business.
Blending into a public school was not without challenges, Omar said.
“In the last five years I have not physically seen a word on the board but I was lucky to have good friends in my form class who would have sometimes offered to help me by reading off of the board or lending me their notebooks or sometimes even going home to take pictures of the notebooks so I could write or read,” he explained.
Eventually, he realized it was up to him to succeed.
“I would still try to push forward even if it seems as though hope is low, I will tell myself ‘You at least have to try. It’s better to try and shut down and fail than it is to just give up,” he stated.
For Omar, the future is filled with possibilities. While he is unable to say what are his career goals right now, his vision for success is clear.
“If I don’t get through with A-levels I may have to switch the plan and nothing is wrong with that and I will just have to go forward,” he emphasized.
According to him, “A lot of people laugh when I say this because a lot of people would expect a young person to have a goal of becoming a lawyer, doctor, a presenter or a high-paying job but I only have two goals in life; my lifelong goal it’s just to be happy and financial goal is to reach in a position where I can travel the world”.
Reporter: Bavita Gopaulchan