Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 24 May 2024 12.58 PM IST

Blind at 17, Febin becomes college teacher from tomorrow


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Febin Maryam Jose, 31 who lost her sight due to a rare disease at the age of 17 will arrive in the classroom as an assistant professor at Thiruvananthapuram Women's College tomorrow. She is the first visually impaired college teacher in the Philosophy Department in Kerala.

Her father, John Jose, worked as a financial controller in Saudi Arabia for many years, and Febin was born and raised there. It was in Saudi Arabia that she lost her vision and at that time, she expressed her sorrow by saying, ‘I can't go to college, papa...’

Phoebe, who was academically talented was unable to complete her high school education due to her visual impairment. Her dreams including becoming an IAS officer seemed unattainable. However, after three years of medication and treatment, her mother Lizzie Kunchacko read to her the story of Helen Keller who persevered in life despite being blind. Gradually, Phoebe regained her strength.

She continued her education at home and passed her Plus Two in Humanities from the National Institute of Open School. In 2012, she came to India and joined Women's College under the Special Category to pursue a BA in Philosophy. She began to explore life philosophically finding the study of philosophy fascinating. Nonvisual desktop access software facilitated her learning and she took written exams with the assistance of a scribe. In 2015, she became the topper for BA at Kerala University and in 2017, she achieved the same feat for her MA at Women's College. She also successfully passed the NET in 2018 and began her PhD research at the Kariyavattam campus.

In 2021, she appeared for the PSC Assistant Professor Post Exam and after the interview was shortlisted in June. She expressed her happiness at becoming a teacher at the very college where she had studied.

Febin faces challenges in going out alone and it is her mother who accompanies her to and from college. Her sister, Flemin Anna Jose, is a dentist. The family resides in Thiruvallam, Thiruvananthapuram.

Febin was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome following discomfort caused by a chickenpox vaccine in Saudi Arabia. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a condition that affects the nervous system and is typically triggered by severe infections. With timely diagnosis, expert treatment and physiotherapy, the disease can be cured.

Dr Anoop Kumar A S, the Director of Critical Care at the Astor North Kerala Cluster emphasized that any crisis can be overcome with determination.

In her own words Febin states, ‘When I lost my sight, I was sad because of the interruption of my studies.’

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