Tiffany Brar, originally from northern India, was born in Chennai.She became blind very shortly after her birth due to a retinal disease. The daughter of an Indian military officer, Brar had the advantage of traveling to many areas. Since she was blind, verbal communication was very important and as a result she became multilingual. During her childhood, Brar learned to speak five Indian languages fluently. She started her schooling in Great Britain while her father was posted there. She then returned to India and studied in schools for the blind, in integrated schools, and in military schools which were not at all specialized for the blind. After completing her primary education in Kerala, her father was transferred to Darjeeling, where she studied at the Mary Scot homes for the blind. Her mother's death left her in a situation which required her to learn many things for herself.During her school days as a blind person, she faced many challenges. For instance, she was made to sit at the back of the class and at times was not even allowed to answer questions. Her Braille notes either arrived too late or did not arrive at all. She was sheltered and protected by her parents and did not know how to venture out independently to take care of her own affairs until her early 20's. She was constantly relying on sighted people to take her to school, to college, and to other places. Because of this, Brar learned daily living skills very late in life. This was a major challenge to her.
Constant segregation and isolation by her classmates and not being included in various events because she was blind also instilled in her an inner drive to change the situation of the blind in Kerala. Though North Indian by origin, today Brar feels that the rest of her destiny lies in Kerala, where she presently resides. The challenges that she faced as a child during her school and college days have made her determined to change the current situation of the blind.She fought all her challenges,reached the first position in her 12th grade along with her sighted counterparts in her CBSE board exam.
After completing her schooling, she went on to complete her degree in English literature from the government women's college in Trivandrum in 2006. After the completion of her degree in 2009, she started working for an organization. She had to travel to various organizations where she came across many underprivileged blind people who were confined within the four walls of their home and who lacked proper training. This urged her to move forward and create her organization, the Jyothirgamaya Foundation.
After working for two years Brar pursued her B.Ed in special education (visual impairment) from Sree Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University in Coimbatore. In 2012, she began running the Jyothirgamaya (which means "leading to light") mobile school for the blind.
Tiffany Brar became a living example to her blind participants and now travels alone not only in Trivandrum, her place of residence, but also to other parts of the state and abroad.
Tiffany began her career as a receptionist in an organisation, after which she went on to found the Jyothirgamaya Foundation on 12 July 2012. Research in Kerala found that even though blind children go to school and some blind adults are job holders, they do not have proper mobility and other skills required to assimilate into mainstream society. The reason behind this is that the blind are hidden within the four walls of their homes and are constantly made to believe that they cannot venture out alone and fend for themselves.
One of the main reasons for setting up a mobile blind school is that due to poverty, lack of awareness, and negligence on the part of parents and guardians, many blind people who are residing in the rural areas are unable to go to schools or training centers. Brar's concept behind a mobile blind school is that "If the blind cannot go to school then the school shall go to them."
Tiffany has been running the Jyothirgamaya since 2012 and has trained many blind people in Braille, mobility, basic computer use, and other necessary life skills. She has also recently initiated a pilot project, Road to Independence, which aims to conduct training camps in all districts of Kerala in order to reach out to the blind in large numbers. She is a motivational speaker and she conducts sensitization sessions for attitudinal change towards disability. She has served as an ambassador for the WWF Earth Hour campaign conducted in 2016 in India.
Her blindness did not stop her from being adventurous. She wanted to enable the society to understand that blind people can travel alone, enjoy sports, recreational activities and adventure as equivalent to the sighted counterparts.she has broken the barriers laid down by a society which says that blind people can’t take a risk and can’t enjoy life equally. She did paragliding, skydiving,rope climbing,rope riding and tandem cycling.
The Tiffy template is a unique innovation for the blind.It is the brainchild of Tiffany Brar and the invention of Paul D'souza an illustrious inventor.It was named 'The Tiffy Template', after Tiffany Brar who triggered the concept.It is a small template which identifies Indian currency notes.This avoids the blind people from being cheated by shopkeepers, auto drivers, and so on!"Disability is not a hindrance to reach the sky"
"The world is equally ours cease all you can get from it"
"Treat us the way you wish to be treated"
"Blindness is not a barrier to be adventurous"
"Blindness doesn't stop one from absorbing the beauty nature has to offer"
In 2012, she received the Kerala State Award for Social Worker.
In 2015, she received the Women of the Year Award from Hope Trust.
In 2016, she received the For the Sake of Honour Award, Rotary International's highest award.
In 2016, she received the Prestigious Saarthak Naari Women Achievers Award
In 2017, she received the Bold and Beautiful Award from Doordarshan.