Fighting The Dark:
The Blind Teenager Who Became A Champion
Saumya Arunodani was born blind. But it has not held her back: She has more medals, trophies and certificates of achievement than most teens her age.
Being born blind has not held young Sri Lankan girl, Saumya Arunodani, back. Last year the teenager won first place in violin at the country’s first State Arts Festival for people with special needs. She was also an integral part of the team that won the prizes for folk and contemporary singing for her school, the Rohana Special School in Matara.
Arunodani, a twin whose sister is not blind, who also plays the tabla, flute and organ, is also studying French and sign language. Eventually the young woman hopes to become a music teacher and help both blind and sighted pupils learn violin.
It was not always like this for Arunodani. Her father is a fisherman and her mother a taxi driver and her first school was an ordinary public school. However her experiences there were upsetting – other children teased her – and she vowed not to return to the school. Happily, she was admitted to a school for children with special needs in 2008.
There she made many friends and learned how to use the Braille system to read and write; she ended up getting higher marks at her school in national exams than her sister and her sister’s friends.
Since then the little blind girl has shown that not seeing cannot stop her. She has won multiple awards in both sports and in cultural events, winning contests at both regional and national levels.
And her family has also been effected. Her father began to learn music too, so that he could join in when Saumya started singing or playing the violin. The rest of the family also join in.