V Makarasi from Thoothukudi, the lone person among six siblings to complete her 12th standard and pursue graduation in a Music college, is waiting to get her post-graduate diploma in computer education.
It hasn’t been an easy journey for the girl from Thattaparai, after she completed her schooling in Palayamkottai and went to Madurai to pursue a course in the music college. “I have two elder sisters and three elder brothers who are working as coolies in Thoothukudi,” says Makarasi, who aspires to pursue a career in music or become a computer professional.
“She has four arrears in her under graduation subjects as she had no one to read out the subjects to her,” says Maheshwari, a staff in the Tamil Nadu Association of the Blind. But, the association is trying to help her clear the arrears, besides providing her adequate training so that she gets a job after her diploma in computer education. “We are trying to ensure she gets her diploma and clears her arrears in her under-graduation subjects,” says Maheshwari. The diploma in computer education is a way to help the blind students get placements in government and private sectors, says E Rajeswari, vice-president and project director of Tamil Nadu Association for Blind. She says the course is conducted free of cost and open to candidates between 21 and 40 years of age.
The course has also benefited R Kavitha of Kelambakkam. She is one of the four ladies who had enrolled for the course. “I have cleared by bank exams and will be joining the clerical cadre,” says Kavitha, who is the eldest in her family. “My father is a tea vendor and my mother a housewife. My brother is a mentally abnormal child,” she says. The course was difficult as I could not understand the screen reading software Job Access With Speech . But now I have mastered it, she says.
The course has also benefited A Murugesan, an astrologer by profession. “I wasn’t born blind. The loss of sight happened recently. The course has helped me immensely. All I want is a laptop so that I could pursue my career in astrology,” he says. The students are getting two certificates — one from the Jawaharlal Nehru University and another from the National Institute of Computer Technology.
The course has brought a new lease of life to the 11 visually challenged students, who were awarded with certificates by Deputy Mayor P Benjamin on the Chennai Corporation premises recently. However, there are also few challenges the students have to encounter. “We have only three computers. We require at least 15 computers,” says Rajeshwari. She says the estimated budget for the computer course is ` 9.1 lakh.