KOCHI: When you first meet Tiffany Brar, a 31-year-old woman from Thiruvananthapuram, the confidence in her gait and her words holds you in awe. Though life had been quite ‘dark’ for her, this visually challenged woman has taken it upon herself to make it bright for those who are facing a similar situation.
Today, the Tiffy Template (an invention mooted by her and named after her) is helping visually challenged people read currency notes. This helps them to do financial transactions easily.
In Kochi recently, for a TedX talk organised by XIME, Kalamassery, Tiffany explains how, before the tool was invented, reading currency was a herculean task for the visually challenged.
“We always had difficulty reading the notes. Some of us either took a lot of time reading it or had to ask somebody else to do it for us. However, the chances of us getting cheated are extremely high, especially by autorikshaw drivers. This is when I approached my friend, Paul D’Zousa, who is an inventor based in Bangalore, to build a device for us,” she said.
The Tiffy Template is a small board like device. In order to read the note a visually challenged person has to fold the note over the board (which has Braille notations engraved on it). The notations on the board helps the user to identify the length and width of the currency through a series of steps. The visually challenged need a bit of training before using it.
“Due to the introduction of the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes, alterations are being made to the board to enable the user to read them too,” she added.
If the Tiffy Template is not novel enough, Tiffany Brar, through Jyothirgamaya started by her in 2015, goes on frequent adventure trips, paragliding being one among them.
“I tell the visually challenged that nothing and no one should restrict them from trying out tasks that are seemingly possible for normal people. Come on, we need to have fun too. This is why Jyothirgamaya is focused on holding sports activities for them. Theories say its ok for the visually challenged to engage in sports activities, but seldom is it practised,” she adds.
The institute trains students in advanced computer courses, spoken English, polishing their skills and behaviour among others. “Before Jyothirgamaya was founded, I would often travel around the city to teach the visually challenged. I would meet them at their homes. I used to do this every day. However, I realised that I was not getting the much-needed output which is why I started Jyothirgamaya,” she said.