Gurpreet Kaur Singh's sight began to fail in the middle of her business course. She was forced to take a year off college. On returning she had less than 25 per cent vision, reducing to zero by the end of her course.
But she returned to college to achieve a degree and was recognised for her dedication by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, which presented her with a Learning Works Award.
"I could not have got through my studies without the excellent teaching staff. After I had taken a year off, it was my tutor, Peter Sidhu, who persuaded me to complete the business studies. He made me realise I had done the hard work and that I only had to compile the work now to get the qualification.
It wasn't easy and what was particularly hard were the comments from some of the other students.
There were two visually impaired students in the class, myself and Faiz Rehman. He is my only real friend from college. We would sit together with the support worker. The other students would bump into us and say nasty things like 'You didn't see us did you?' If my support worker was a woman and I would hold her arm and I'd hear remarks like 'here comes the Asian lesbian.' It took my confidence away. Peter was excellent. I could not have completed my studies without him, and two other teachers Mike Moul and Noel Clayton in IT who supported us a lot. Caroline Goodwill, the learning support tutor, has been fantastic and is still in touch. I work at the local Job Centre Plus and I enjoy it."
Gurpreet Kaur Singh was talking to Shekhar Bhatia