CHENNAI: ‘Hi Friends! Welcome to the function’, read a solitary greeting on the computer screen. What made the message special was that it was typed out by one of the members of Karna Vidya Technology Centre — someone who is visually-challenged.
Muthu, the young lady behind the screen, wowed the audience with her tech-savviness. She operated the computer and showed how the operations can be done, simply using the keyboard instead of a mouse with a special text-to-speech guiding software called Daisy: Digital Access Intelligent Systems.
On Monday, the Rotaract club of Drishti and Karna Vidya launched a book, which is a compilation of material drawn from conferences, named ‘Accessibility’.
It is a set of 14 research papers written by visually-challenged members on issues of infrastructure and mobile accessibility for the visually-challenged in an everyday society. “We might first need more government textbooks in Daisy format,” said Raghu, one of the visually-challenged coordinators of the programme.
In the presence of chief guest Justice G Masilamani, former advocate general, Vaishnavi Jayakumar, co-founder of Banyan was presented the first copy of the book.
Speaking to the audience comprising visually-challenged professionals and students, she said that she hoped that the next edition of this book would have more to do with innovation and less with necessity. Stressing the need for an inclusive society, she said, “I remember, seeing a Chinese talking cooker, 25 years ago. Today, I wish there was something like that. Even the visually challenged would like to cook, and do things that others do.”
The event that struck an emotional chord with Justice Masilamani, who stressed the need for them to demand their rights through Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees equality to everyone before the eyes of law.
“Who is this ‘everyone’ the law talks about? Should it not include the visually challenged as well? Your voices should be heard in the corridors of the legal system, you should ask for what is rightfully yours,” he said. He emphasised on the need of research centres in the country that focus on the visually challenged. “Demand, and it shall be given to you.” he urged them.