Zeroing in on accessibility

Priya is a 26 years old girl from Jaipur, Rajasthan. She was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) during her early childhood. RP is a progressive eye disorder gradually causing complete vision loss. Her limited vision did not stop her from studying till graduation in mainstream institutions. She studied in Hindi medium throughout.

She relied on her friends, family and teachers for her studies. They helped her by reading out notes and explaining to her the contents of her syllabus. But after graduation she faced a five year gap before she could make a decision about her life further. This due to progressive loss of vision and a phase of hopelessness she experienced doubting her potential to be independent.  She heard about Eyeway and the toll-free helpline for the first time from a promotion on the radio. Since the she has connected with Eyeway over many issues like accessible technology, employment opportunities and so on. During those interactions our counselor assisted her in learning to use the smartphone and using computers with the help of assistive technology.

She enrolled for a post-graduation in Law in 2017. Recently she connected to Eyeway with a challenge she is facing in her education. She is unable to find her Law course books in accessible format in Hindi language. Majority of the books in accessible formats are in English and Priya has studied Hindi medium thus making it difficult for her to access her course material.  She has also not studied Braille to access such books if available. Only those Law books pertaining to her syllabus in Hindi language which are accessible can be useful for her.

After comprehending the issue, our counselor put Priya in touch with a Pune-based volunteer group named ‘Yashowani’ in order to get her books audio recorded. This group records books free of cost. Yashowani has helped her by recording many books though more recordings are pending. Since she has to give her exams in the month of May 2018 she is also looking for readers’ help.

The problem she is facing is part of the bigger issue of accessibility for the disabled. This particular issue emphasizes the need for books being available in accessible formats in regional languages.