Empowerment through technology

Nineteen year old Rakesh, a resident of Ramgarh, Jharkhand, found out about the Eyeway Helpdesk through a friend. He called the helpdesk curious to know whether a visually impaired person could operate a computer. Not only did our counselors assure Rakesh of this possibility they also shared with him information about the many available software and apps that enabled visually impaired persons to access computers, smart phones, books. Rakesh, having shown interest in gaining some computer skills, was guided to the National Association for Blind (NAB), Jamshedhpur. He has gotten in touch with NAB and hopes to join a computer training program soon.

Demonetization Blues

Govt needs to ensure that the recent demonetization does not lead to financial exclusion of the blind and visually impaired citizens

If the recent demonetization of 1000 and 500 rupee notes has to be made into a success for all sections of society then one needs to pay attention to the below listed red flags as far as persons with blindness and visual impairment are concerned. A cashless digital economy may imply near financial exclusion of the blind population from the mainstream economy. Read more

Overcoming disability through a positive attitude towards life

By Shruti Pushkarna

Visual impairment is not in the eyes, it’s in the mind. If you will feel that you are visually impaired then you will not be able to do anything. You need to go out of the way to explore the world.

Says Chetna Nagpal, who was born with an eye condition called Nystagmus. It is a condition of involuntary eye movement that may result in reduced or limited vision. In her case, Chetna can see things but is unable to focus on anything. But unlike many, Chetna does not find her disability to be limiting. She believes visual impairment is more of a mental condition than a physical one.
A 21 year old ambitious young woman, she is studying in her first year Political Science major in one of India’s top colleges, Lady Shri Ram College for Women. Born to totally blind parents, Chetna did not have it easy while growing up. Chetna’s parents did not know she could see at all until the age where she started to talk and point out things to them. Read more

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