On account of International Women’s day, team Urban Tree has meticulously chosen some great women achievers of our country. As we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women on March 8, this is a series of blogs that feature those strong women of India who have made their way up to become successful by breaking stereotypes!
On June 12th when the 25 year old Beno Zephine, a former probationary worker at the SBI or State Bank of India was selected for IFS, history was made in India. Beno is the first 100% visually challenged person to become Indian Foreign Services (IFS) officer.
Early studies and college
Beno was well known to speak about the conservation of wildlife, cancer, etc. Her father Luke Anthony Charles who works in the railways with her mother would get her books and her mother, Mary Padmaja used to read them out to her and that was how Beno would prepare for the speeches. In college she was often the Master of Ceremonies which was something the thoroughly enjoyed. Her favorite subject was maths along with speaking. Academics wasn’t a burden to her as it was something that she did enjoy. After school was over, she then joined Stella Maris College to pursue a degree in English literature. After that she went on to do her post graduation in English literature from Loyola College. Beno had no difficulty moving from a blind school to a normal college because at home and outside, she was treated fairly. This is what gave her the confidence to face life like any other person.
Beno gave her exams and had to wait for close to a year. She was working as a probationary officer for SBI. But that soon changed when the External Affairs Ministry called to inform her that she was now inducted into the 69 year old Indian Foreign Service, a milestone in every possible way as Beno is visually challenged.
Working with SBI and Civil Service
She became a probationary officer for the SBI in 2013 after completing her MA. She knew from eleventh grade on that her dream was to work in the civil services despite having little knowledge about the sector. As a result of this she began to study hard and start preparing for her Civil Service Examination. After her second attempt at the exam she cleared with a 343/1022 score. When she did receive the call she did not jump down or break into tears. She was composed as ever and was ready to work tirelessly for her country.
Her Message to Today’s Youth:
“Challenges do come but face them and devise your own strategies”.