Eyeway Stories

Access Hurdles

Forty-year-old Melwyn Noronha belongs to Bangalore, Karnataka. He studied till Class 9 and took up the job of a hospital attendant. Unfortunately, soon after he lost his eyesight, he was terminated from the job. He was unsure of what to do and turned hopeless because of the sight loss until he heard about Enable India, an NGO which works towards empowering blind and visually impaired people.

He underwent a computer training course and started working with the same NGO. Eventually, Melwyn secured a corporate job with an IT company. But he continued to upskill and pursue higher studies to improve his prospects. Since acquiring blindness at a later age, Melwyn has been under the guidance of Eyeway Helpdesk, seeking advice and support time and again.

When he faced challenges applying for a railway concession card, the Eyeway Helpdesk counselor helped him out. He was put in touch with experts who taught him to independently book tickets online. He ran into an issue because his details didn’t match on the IRCTC portal, so he was directed to physically go to the station and fix it. Similarly, when he tried to use the IRCTC mobile app on his iPhone, he couldn’t access it because of the lack of accessibility compliance. So, despite having access to technology and having the know-how to do things independently, Melwyn cannot book his tickets without sighted intervention.

There are so many government provisions and schemes for persons with disabilities, but the lack of access to digital products and services is a huge area of concern. The government authorities need to seriously look at compliance and accountability to ensure proper implementation of the existing policies.

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