Accepting change

Every month we get many calls regarding usage of smart phones. While younger folks seem to be quick to learn and master this new technology, the older ones seem intimidated by it and tend to, for the part avoid it.. Faisal (name changed) from Govindpuri in Delhi, an employee of the Indian Bank was recently posted to the Digital Banking department at his bank. This involved working with Internet banking, ATM related queries and know-how of the bank’s android app. In the past he was reluctant to switch to a smart phone but now with his new role it became necessary for him to purchase an android phone. He got in touch with Eyeway where our counselor shared with him information on the available phones, their accessibility features and guided him to buy a phone. In a series of telephonic as well as face to face interactions, our counselors imparted basic training on how to operate his new android phone. Faisal now seems to be quite comfortable and finds it quite useful.

An example in good parenting

Vivek (name changed) is a working professional living in Mumbai. He has a 2 year old son who is blind. Unlike many parents of disabled children, Vivek doesn’t see his son’s blindness in a negative light. But he is concerned about the child’s education and inclusion into the mainstream. Vivek wants to provide a good education to his son, so that he feels no less or any different from a sighted child. Vivek explored the internet to seek necessary information on blindness for over 8 months but he didn’t really find answers to his queries until he stumbled upon the Eyeway website. When he called the Eyeway Helpdesk, our counselor reassured Vivek, listing out myriad possibilities for his son to lead a fulfilling life despite blindness. The counselor apprised Vivek of government schemes and provisions, online and offline resources including local NGOs that could prove useful for his son. The counselor also shared some tips on parenting a blind child. Eyeway counselor emphasized on the need to get a disability certificate for the child and also shared the relevant hospital details to process the same. In a follow up call made by our counselor, we learnt that Vivek had contacted the hospital for the disability certificate. He also visited Xavier’s Resource Center for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC), a Mumbai based NGO working for education of the blind. XRCVC assured Vivek of their support and suggested to enrol the child in a mainstream school. Vivek was grateful to the Eyeway Helpdesk for attending to his concerns patiently and empathetically.

Timely intervention

Satinder (name changed), a resident of Sangrur, Punjab is 24 years old and 100% blind. He has been working as a clerk in the Punjab Government’s Education department since September 2016. A few months into the job, Satinder learned that another visually impaired person working in the same department and on the same post was being paid more than him. He raised this issue with the management but his complaint went unheeded. He continued to receive a lesser salary, so he decided to seek help from Eyeway. After he reported the matter to our counselor in January 2017, he was apprised of his legal rights to claim a higher salary. Our counselor shared a copy of the official circular stating the minimum wages due to him. Satinder shared the same circular with the respective authorities in his department, asking for a correction in his salary. The department finally agreed and Satinder started receiving his full dues from March 2017. This was a clear case of discrimination on account of his blindness. Awareness of the relevant scheme enabled him to fight for his right to receive the stipulated salary on a timely basis. Satinder was very thankful to Eyeway for the information, support and courage they provided him to fight for his rights.

Here’s why Cricket for the Blind can be a game changer

Cricket for the blind can become a means for expression, exposure and empowerment for the visually impaired population of our country.

By George Abraham

In February 2017, India won the 2nd T-20 World Cup for Cricket for the Blind, beating Pakistan in the finals at Bengaluru. The entire nation celebrated. Cash prizes were announced. The Prime Minister tweeted and invited the team home for tea. Television channels hosted the Indian Blind Cricket team on news programmes and chat and reality shows. Social media was abuzz with videos, photos, posts, and discussions on the triumph.

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How Technology Is Helping Visually Impaired People Take Exams Independently

In the Digital India of today, there is a need to re-look at the modes of assessment for blind and visually impaired students.

Do you remember playing ‘Chinese Whispers’ as kids? Whispering words and phrases down a chain of friends, and ending up in giggles at the distorted line of communication!

For those who are not familiar with the game, one person whispers a phrase into the ear of the next person in line, who then whispers the word to the third in line. When the word reaches the last person in the chain, the phrase is spelled out loud. Usually, the phrase is very different from what was communicated by the first person in the chain. An ideal case of lost in translation!

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Finding connections

Roshan (name changed) lives in Karnataka and he is blind. He has been trying hard to secure an electricity connection for some time now. Despite several visits to the Panchayat office, Roshan could not get all necessary information on the same. That’s when he decided to get in touch with the Eyeway Helpdesk. Our counsellors assisted him with the application process under the reservation quota, informed him of the Rs.1000 service charge from which he was exempt and gave him the confidence to approach the Panchyat office. Roshan approached their office again with his application correctly filled out. This time they accepted his application. Lack of awareness of schemes, rules and guidelines both on the part of a visually impaired person and on the part of authorities is a major challenge that needs to be overcome. While drafting rules to empower the disabled is the first step taken by the government, implementation and a change of mindset are critical for a visible change to follow the schematic changes being put in place to impact the lives of visually impaired people.

A passion for music

16 year old Rohit (name changed) called the Eyeway Helpdesk hoping that he could receive some guidance on pursuing his passion for music. Rohit shared with the counselor his dream to become a musician except he didn’t know how to turn that dream into reality. Initially, Rohit was reluctant to share information about himself but over a few conversations our counselors learnt that he had not been attending school. He only wanted to play music and was not interested in any of the other subjects that were taught at school. Our counselors made it a point to convey to him the importance of education and persuaded him to go back to school. They found a Government School in Bhopal where along with other subjects he could also learn music. He is now trying to follow the advice and suggestions made to him by our Helpdesk.