Hospital to Hospit-able: How hospitals can overcome inaccessibility

By Anoushka Mathews

Most government hospitals in Delhi, despite being spaces for diagnosis and recovery, are teeming with lines, unending paper work, and tired patients. The wait is long for those who do not have an uncle or cousin working at the hospital. However, for those who are visually impaired, even basic access to hospital services and facilities is possible only through dependence or great strife.

Imagine being visually impaired and visiting the hospital alone. The obstacle course begins even before entering the hospital. The only way to locate the main gate is to rely on a helpful passerby. On arriving at the main entrance, again, the only way to proceed further is to depend on directions from a guard or a fellow patient. Many are not trained to provide such assistance, and may provide instructions that might not make much sense to a person who is blind or visually impaired. Read more

World Disability Day Musings

By George Abraham

Every blind Indian is potentially a part of the Human Resource of the country. They must be invested in and not merely provided for. The nation needs to realize this as much as the government, the society, the families and the blind person himself or herself needs to realize this. There is a huge potential which we need to recognize, nurture and tap into. Read more

Self reliance through technology

A meaningful example of how accessible technology can change lives has emerged from our own helpdesk recently. Harish (name changed), a 44 year old man from Delhi had been dependent on others for a long time to manage his small business. He runs a momos shop in Delhi and uses his mobile phone to keep in touch with his ingredients suppliers, customers, family and friends. Being visually impaired, he could never tell who had called him whenever he missed a call. He would miss out on important updates, information and business opportunities. He called the Eyeway helpdesk recently to share his concern. He told us that his current phone was not a smart phone. We found out that he was completely unaware about facilities such as screen reader and talk back for mobile phones.  Our counsellor advised him about the benefits of these facilities and encouraged him to purchase an android phone that supports screen reader and talk back facilities. Following our guidance, Harish purchased a suitable phone. After his purchase, we gave him detailed guidance on how to use the phone. Now he’s using it expertly and without any trouble. He no longer has to depend on other people and has the power to take his business to greater heights by being more responsive. We would like to thank our counsellor, Alok Kumar of NAB Delhi for sharing this story.

Transforming lives

Another story from our helpdesk which shows the power of social inclusion and integration in transforming lives for the better is the story of Priyanka (name changed), whose story we had shared with you in the previous issue of Scoreboard. At that time, Priyanka’s visual impairment caused her a lot of mental distress. She was anxious in social situations and rarely left the four walls of her home to go outside. Our counsellors were always there to listen to her concerns, provide her practical advice and emotional support. With our encouragement, Priyanka enrolled in the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) and completed a course on primary school teacher training. We recently followed-up with her regarding her experiences. She shared with us that she started speaking with people more freely and confidently. She made a lot of friends during student life. She successfully completed the course, now a transformed person. The icing on the cake is that Priyanka has now got a permanent government job as a teacher with the Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya in Nangloi (West Delhi). The young woman, who previously couldn’t talk to one person without getting nervous will now lead a classroom and inspire a generation of young people. Now that is one incredible transformation.  We would like to thank our Helpdesk Operations Manager, Binni Kumari for sharing this story.

Making academics accessible

Sukumar (name changed), a student of class 11 from Tumkur, Karnataka with 100 percent blindness contacted the Eyeway helpdesk in August, 2016. He informed our counsellor that he was facing difficulties with his studies as he did not have books on the subjects of History, Economics, Political Science and Sociology in an accessible format. He needed them in order to successfully prepare for his class 11 mid-term examinations. We connected him to Sahana Charitable Trust, an NGO which has a repository of accessible resources for students. He was able to get all the books that he needed from them levitra 10 mg for sale. With the required academic support available, he is now able to do justice to his exam preparation.

One young woman’s transformative journey

Gauri (name changed), a resident of Shahdara, Delhi first got in touch with us in 2011. At that time, she was appearing for class 10th exams through National Institute of Open Learning’s (NIOS).  She told us that she wanted to do a computer training programme. With the help of our step-by-step guidance, she finally completed a computer training programme from National Association for the Blind (NAB), R.K. Puram in 2015.

Gauri latest connect with us was in July, 2016. She informed us that she was pursuing a vocational course from NAB, Hauz Khas. Her course components include computers, handicrafts, music and theatre. She shared that she had developed a more independent personality and was comfortable moving around independently, outside the home. Her aspiration is to be financially independent before getting married, after she completes the vocational course. Gauri expressed that it was the awareness provided to her by the Eyeway helpdesk that motivated her to forge ahead in life.

Media and Disability

How can Media be more inclusive towards persons with disabilities?

By George Abraham

Often we hear journalists raise a question on behalf of persons with disabilities, “Is the government doing enough for the country’s disabled population?” Reporters and anchors accuse the government representatives for not doing enough to make the environment ‘inclusive’?
How about we turn this question around and ask our friends in the media, “What role does the media play towards inclusion of persons with disabilities? Does the media practice what it preaches?”
In today’s day and age, media is a powerful medium which can be used to bring about transformation of any kind. If media became more sensitive towards the needs of the disabled, it will automatically get reflected in the society at large, because of the impact media has on a large section of the population.  Read more

How to make Indian Monuments more Accessible to the Blind and Visually Impaired

By Akanksha Sharma

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the India Gate lawns, on a bright sunny day. What do you see? Groups of people with family and friends, picnic baskets in hand? Now imagine a blind person trying to find his/her way around the Amar Jawan Jyoti. He/she is likely to be lost with no proper markings or anyone to guide. Have you ever wondered that the little pleasures we experience as part of the society might be closed to a section of our population? Monuments give us a sense of the history of a particular place. But do blind and visually impaired people have access to these monuments in their own cities? Read more

Empowering the Visually Impaired: Opportunities & Challenges

By George Abraham

Hari Raghavan does business development at Dell. Charudatta Jadhav is an International Chess master and an IT professional with TCS. Pankaj Sinha is a practicing lawyer at the Delhi High Court. Dilip Loyolka, Samir Late and Rajani Gopalkrishna are practicing Chartered Accountants. Sudha Patel, Sanjay Dang and Siddhartha Sharma are entrepreneurs. Sundeep Rao is a stand-up comedian. G. Subramaniam and L. Subramani are journalists. Payal Kapur is a sales professional with a hotel. All of them are blind and all of them are extremely accomplished and successful. The question to be considered is “are these people merely outstanding exceptions or are these people examples pointing towards possibilities and potential in a life with blindness?”. Read more

Our Trustees

Thomas Chandy

Beginning  his career as a Franchise Chemist with Parley Bottling in 1986, today Thomas is the Country Director of Save the Children Fund since 2006.  In the past he has spent nearly 12 years with Coca Cola India in various capacities.  Prior to joining Coca Cola, he worked with Parley Bottling for 6-8 years. He has also been a key player in the launch of Limca Book of Records in 1989 – 1990.

Karunendra  Mathur

Karunendra is a veteran from the field of advertising, having worked with various advertising agencies since 1981, he is currently the Managing Director of Page Advertising & Communications Private Ltd, an advertising agency he set up in 2012.  In the past he has worked with advertising agencies such as Montage Advertising, Speer Communications, Chaitra, and Megacorp.

Salil Chaturvedi

Salil is a Managing Partner with Splash Communications, which provides communication solutions to NGOs along with designing and editorial services. He is also a disability activist and contributes regularly to the publications of Ability Foundation and NCPEDP.  Salil is also a regular feature on the television show Galli Galli Sim Sim. He has been on the wheel chair since the age of 18 after meeting with an accident.

Rajiv Raturi

Rajiv is a Senior Director with Human Rights Law Network. Before that he headed the  Asia Pacific Regional Centre for the Disability Rights Promotion International. DRPI is a project of the York University in Canada working across 5 continents to implement an international system to monitor the human rights of persons with disabilities. Before this he was working with the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) as their National Director – Disability Rights Initiative, and also Delhi Director. Before this he has worked with the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled Persons (NCPEDP) as Programme Officer. Prior to venturing into the development sector, he worked with organizations like Jagajit Industries Limited and Wimco in India, and Kenya Matches Limited, Kenya. He suffered a bullet injury while in Kenya that left him visually impaired.