Accessible Audio Books for Blind and Visually Impaired

By Sonali Jain, Saksham

Mass production of accessible books can eradicate the book famine faced by persons with blindness or other print disabilities.

Books are considered a person’s best companion. It is said that “When you open a book, you open a new world”. Books provide us with an endless pool of knowledge and information and allow a person to improve his / her understanding by exposing one to new things, besides being an invaluable source of entertainment.

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5 Visually Impaired Comedians Who Have Broken All Kinds of Disability Myths

By Anoushka Mathews

There are plenty of visually impaired people making waves in the world of stand-up comedy. Here are five of the best.

Comedy opens your heart, releases tension, and gives you different ways to think of things.” – Anonymous

The sorry image of the blind man who pities himself and hates the sighted world is not what you will see if you ever happen to be at the shows of one of these comedians. They’re one sense short, but their sense of humour more than makes up for their lack of sight. Their ability to view the humour in situations makes for great stories that audiences can crack up to.

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Digital India: A boon for the visually impaired

By Shruti Pushkarna

Digital India is a transformational idea that needs to be exploited beyond its present scope to bring persons with blindness and visual impairment into the mainstream.

Digital Literacy, Digital Divide, Digital Inclusion. These terms are increasingly becoming a part of our conversational vocabulary, thanks to Prime Minister Modi’s flagship campaign, Digital India.

Unlike the myriad schemes announced by previous ruling governments, Digital India is a powerful idea. It’s a transformative campaign, especially so from a blind citizen’s perspective.

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What govt needs to do to make Rights of Persons with Disability Act work

By Koshy Mathew

“A human being is a magnificent creation and the magnificence must reflect in a humane, magnanimous, and all-inclusive manner so that every individual tends to feel that she/he deserves space,” as observed by the Supreme Court in the Pranay Kumar Podder vs State of Tripura and Others case in 2017.

There is potential progress on the horizon as inclusion, integration and phrases that would define their essence are discussed zealously, but what portends horror is that it is still left to choice – that it is not the practice.

Policymakers say let’s change the rules, activists say let’s change the mindset, politicians say let’s treat “them” as “Divine”, courts say let’s be magnanimous and civil society says let’s earn favours from God – all this haggle is for accepting the “other”. Read more

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.