“I can type, I can write, I can send emails, I can do my alignment, Excel, and anything you want. I can speak well, I can walk… I can board a bus, I can do my banking, I can book my railway tickets and I can transfer money…”

That’s Tiffany Brar, the visually impaired founder of Jyothirgamaya, a school that trains the blind at their doorstep. Ms. Brar became blind shortly after birth due to an oxygen overdose. As a result, she knows what it’s like to not get Braille notes on time, play with plasticine and sharpen pencils on the back bench, and get thrown out of class. And that was the turning point of her life.

“That is when I said that I am not going to allow my future blind brothers and sisters to face discrimination. I want to change this situation. There should be no backbenchers.” That's why she called her organization Jyothirgamaya, which means "lead me to light".

She made an impassioned plea for inclusion. She said that when it came to project management among people with disabilities, there is always doubt about whether she or he can run a project. But she cited several examples of how disabled people, including herself, ran organizations.

“I'm a social entrepreneur, and I am not being cheated by anyone because every staff member of mine is loyal to me.”

“Trust in us… We want inclusion, we want ourselves to be recognized with and without our disabilities,” Ms. Brar said. She was all praise for PMI, saying the invitation to speak at the event was an example of inclusion.

She stressed the importance of planning while managing projects, saying, “If I fail to plan, I plan to fail.” However, she admitted that there would always be challenges.

She also emphasised treating colleagues with love, affection, and positivity. A colleague had advised her, “You don't have to satisfy everyone.” But Ms. Brar said that you can't take this approach in an NGO setup because it's not just a nine-to-five job and you're not going to earn big money.

She said encouragement was important. “Just smile at the person, just one smile. It costs nothing. This is how we should run successful projects.”