16-year-old Shristi Tiwari has topped the humanities stream of Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education by securing 481 out of 500. What makes her feat more remarkable is that she is visually impaired. She stands fourth in the overall merit list of Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education.
Shristi Tiwari had cataract in both her eyes since birth and despite 11 surgeries, her condition did not improve. In fact, with time it only worsened. Now, she has only five per cent of sight left, that too in only one of her eyes. But she did not let her disability come in the way of her studies. She has been a bright student since the beginning, with many scholarships and certificates in her name.
Shristi told NDTV that she is very happy with her results and thanks her maternal family who were with her on every step. They not only helped her prepare for exams but also made her overcome her mental hurdles due to the disability and also boosted her confidence.
Shristi, after class 5th, has been staying with her maternal grandparents Virendra, Sunita and uncle VK Gangele. They noticed her keen interest in studies and encouraged and helped her in all possible ways. Shristi knows Braille and with the help of it takes down notes in school. Her uncle also got her a low-vision device with the help of which she reads text from books on her own. However, the device is strenuous for her and she cannot study for more than an hour at a stretch. So, her grandparents and uncle prepared her notes and narrated to her again and again till she was able to grasp and memorise them. This is how Shristi prepared for her boards. She would daily study for four to five hours and with the help of a writer she answered her exams.
"We prepared her notes, read it loud many a times, consulted many course materials and made her memorise subjects and then she was able to give her exams," said her maternal uncle VK Gangele.
While many might be amazed by Shristi's accomplishment, for her the journey has just begun. She wants to join the Indian Administrative Services and help others like her become a part of the mainstream.