A) Readers and Writers for visually impaired students

(in and around Pune District)

Chetan ROSHNI volunteer went as a writer for Navina who is doing her MA in cyber crime.

PROBLEM: During college exams, the future of several visually impaired students hangs in the balance as they run from pillar to post to get them a writer (who writes on behalf of them i.e. the visually impaired student) for their exam. Since the board/college does not provide writers, visually impaired student have to source them on their own, and also deal with the risk of the writer backing out at the last moment.

Does the board/university/college provide writers to visually impaired students?

No. visually impaired students have to source writers on their own. Ideally, they should do it at the time when the students are applying for their hall tickets, when they have to provide the writer's details and an approval letter from his/her school. If a visually impaired student manages to find a writer at the last moment, he/she must get the permission of the chief centre in-charge (responsible for all exam centres in a particular area) prior to the exam. This highlights the trouble differently abled student face if they haven't found a writer for their child till the last minute

Facts about Visually Impaired in India: Eyesight plays an important role in our day today life. Daily activities of an individual will be affected when the vision is hampered. India is a country with highest population of visually impaired people in the world. Approximately one out of every four individuals who are visually impaired, live in India. The figure of those afflicted approaches ten million. It is observed that 90% of the worlds visually impaired live in developing countries.

  • One out of the every three blind people in the world lives in India.
  • There are 12 million people who are visually impaired who live in India.
  • 6 million People become visually impaired every year.
  • 2 million Children are visually impaired under the age of 16 yrs., hardly 5% of them receive any education.
  • 80% of blindness is avoidable i.e. readily treatable and preventable.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Possible Solution in order to achieve impact in the above mentioned focus area can be suggested as follows- providing readers and writers to visually impaired students and sensitise colleges about the policy changes required for inclusion of the differently abled and visually impaired.

Volunteer from PCCOE college contributing by recording book for ROSHNI Readers and Writers Initiative

Volunteer from PCCOE college contributing by recording book for ROSHNI Readers and Writers Initiative

Volunteers from PCCOE college translating textbooks of graduation courses into word which are later converted into braille scripts for ROSHNI Readers and Writers Initiatve

What we do

People with visual impairments are a heterogeneous group. Some have partial vision impairments while others are totally blind. Some have visual impairment as only disability, while others have additional sensory, cognitive and/or physical challenges. Some were sighted at one time, while others never had vision. Students who are visual impaired have unique learning needs that must be addressed if they are to access the general education core curriculum and become independent, productive citizens.

Every year, just before exams begin, we hear of school and college visually impaired students struggling to find writers for exams. We try our best to provide reader, writer to visually impaired students.

We try to assist our differently abled friends by offering them our small voluntary assistance in the following ways:

  • Reader : We try our best to channelize volunteer efforts to assist visually impaired students in reading aloud the contents of study material, books for visually impaired (who is unable to read the material on their own)
  • Writer: We try our best to channelize volunteer efforts to assist visually impaired students as Writer (Scribe) during exam. Volunteer have to assist in writing down the examination answers as dictated by the visually impaired students.
  • Audio Recording of study material / notes on Mobile (Volunteer from Home): Citizens can volunteer by recording audio notes from the study material, text book content, notes or novels for visually impaired students .This can be done from your home with your android mobile.You can record according to your convenience). A visually impaired student studying in English / Hindi / Marathi etc. medium depends on recorded notes more than ever, since the text to speech applications are not equipped enough to translate texts considerably. Here's a call to all those who can help us in recording notes in English or Hindi or Marathi etc for the visually impaired.
  • You can also Volunteer for :

1) Writing assignments – You can volunteer to assist the visually impaired students to write assignments. Visually impaired student dictates the content to volunteer.

2) ROSHNI Differently Able Mentor Program: Assisting visually impaired students in their needs to begin as early as possible and include self-awareness and career exploration activities, job seeking skills instruction, information about job keeping, and encourage opportunities for gaining work experience.

3) Teaching visually impaired students for their personal enrichment- e.g. vocal music (like Carnatic, Hindustani), Spoken English, Computers, etc.

4) Assist in conducting and organising advocacy workshop for sensitising Regular Schools, Institutions, Corporates Staff and Effective Parenting session for Parents of differently abled child.

5) Coordination of events / workshops / special events / interactive sessions

  • We invite young people, citizens to register with us as a reader or writer. Our main criteria is commitment.

If you want to help and you stay in Pune District, you are requested to complete the Readers Writers Information form and hit SUBMIT. We will contact with you only when necessary

B) Advocacy for Inclusion of the Differently Abled:

Komal responded to our call for writer and went to write for Shrikant who is doing BA Political Science

PROBLEM: There exist lot of barriers for people who are differently abled. Barriers to the inclusion of differently able when removed then they are empowered to participate fully in societal life, their entire community benefits. Accessibility is necessary to achieve progress and development for all people. The Accessibility and inclusion of differently abled people are fundamental rights recognized by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention (i.e. Article 9, which is about accessibility) make sure to enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life and development. It calls upon stakeholders to take necessary measures to ensure that differently abled people have access to all aspects of society, on an equal basis with others. The stakeholders are also directed to identify and eliminate obstacles and barriers to accessibility.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION: In impact in the above mentioned focus area, possible solution can be suggested as follows which includes - Sensitization of all stakeholders about the policy changes required for inclusion of the differently abled and visually challenged in mainstream society. Aim and Objective of Civil Society Organisation’s should be Advocacy for Protection of Rights of the Differently Abled People and Visually Impaired.

What we do

  • We liaison and advocate in crisis situation with stakeholders, government and private organizations in respect of issues affecting the lives and dignity of people who are differently-abled.
  • We try our best to sensitise and reach out to all possible stakeholders about the policy changes required for inclusion of the differently abled and visually impaired in mainstream society; and try to provide all possible assistance from us or from our partner

C) Government’s Initiative on Braille Books

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment provides the following information “A Common Catalogue of Accessible content produced anywhere in India came up with online braille library.

http://www.oblindia.org/ provides common catalogue in place, when a book is selected for accessible format conversion, the organization makes an entry in the common catalogue. Other organizations also look up this common catalogue and do not waste efforts on converting the books already being processed by other organizations. And later the organisation which participate share the books they convert among themselves.

No option was available to visually impaired community to search the catalogue of accessible books available with civil society groups in different states. Now they can search for the books they want to read on the common catalogue and order for it with the organizations possessing the book wherever it may be located.

Languages in which books are available

Hindi, English, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Sanskrit, Assamese,  Malayalam, MiddleEnglish, Hebrew, English/Hindi.

Area Covered – PAN India. Source: www.thebetterindia.com


D) Government’s Initiative on Audio Books

Government’s initiative to address some of these challenges has led to the formation of online national library of accessible books known as Sugamya Pustakalaya. https://library.daisyindia.org/

The DASISY websites helps us with an online library which is a joint effort of Government of India, the DAISY Forum of India. Accessible books from various libraries across the country, along with those from some of the notable international agencies such as Bookshare and Accessible Books Consortium are available here so that users can obtain maximum content on a single platform.

Thousands of digitally accessible books across diverse subjects and languages and multiple formats are available on this library which a person with print disability can access on click of a button after registering with this library for free. These publications can be read by a user on any device of his / her choice, like, mobile phones, tablets, computer, DAISY players or even in Braille. Initiatives like these and awareness among publishers to produce more and more accessible audio books has a potential to eradicate the book famine being faced by persons with blindness and other print disabilities.”

Source: www.thebetterindia.com

Sustainable Development Goals in our Focus Area of Enabling the Differently Abled Rights Initiative are as follows:

Enabling the Differently Abled matters to the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Let's take a moment to reflect which SDG Goals are impacted because of it: