BENGALURU: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight, but no vision,” says Helen Keller. In a world that often lacks vision, a group of volunteers has stepped up to make life easier for the visually impaired. Dhvani Granth is an initiative to record books for the visually impaired students.
Started a couple of years ago, the group has recorded first-year pre-university and Class X books, and 4,000-pagers to help those who are preparing for an insurance job. All subjects which are in readable format are taken up.
Dhvani Granth is one of the many social initiatives run by a non-profit organisation named Volunteers for Cause (VFC). VFC helps social organisations, across 12 different categories, and more than 1,000 volunteers reach each other.
Based on the need of the visually impaired students, VFC’s Dhvani Granth team contacts volunteers through the Facebook page (facebook.com/vfcdhvanigranth) and a WhatsApp group.
A sample recording is performed and a check is done with respect to the clarity of voice, the tempo of recital, the echo, the background noise etc. Usually ten pages are given to each volunteer. Sasikala Ranganathan, a co-ordinator, says, “All audio is recorded in MP3 format.”
Surendran M Krishnan, the founder of VFC, says that the idea for Dhvani Granth came from their experiences from Penpal, another VFC initiative, through which people offer to be scribes for a visually impaired student’s examinations.
Ravi L, one of the founder members of Deepa Academy that has 60 visually impaired students from Class 8 up to the PG level, says, “The children find the audio books very effective (study aids).”
Sandhya, of Premanjali Foundation, an NGO adds, “Twenty three of our students passed a clerical exam with the help of these books.” In a recent event “Voiceathon”, 23 volunteers came together at SK Public School, Bommasandra, to audio record 289 pages (99 in Kannada + 190 in English) in just 3 hours.
Dhvani Granth also plans to make audio files available to all. Access to these would be given on request, in order to keep track of the demand and also to avoid misuse.