KOCHI: Amid tall talk of making a disabled-friendly society, establishments and officials often fail to deliver even basic steps to aid the differently-abled communities. Among them, visually-challenged children face numerous hardships, from everyday routines to education. Much to their dismay, the Covid-induced lockdown has made it even worse. Though they are familiarised with academic subjects, they often miss out on literature.
Initiating change, R.E.A.D Club -- Read, Explore, Ask and Discover -- a Kochi-based social enterprise has started an initiative called ‘Record a story, Make a difference’ to provide audio records of literary books to visually-challenged students across India. Interestingly, the audio clips are recorded by children who are part of the club. Aiming to develop the habit of reading in listeners and readers, the initiative commenced in February.
Founded by Kochi-based Sangeetha Suryanarayan with her partner C Deepalakshmi from Madurai in 2016, the club aims to nurture curiosity, creativity and love for learning through the world of stories and art. “We started with a classroom library project at Elamakkara Government Higher Secondary School for lower primary classes to promote reading. Story sessions were held at schools once in two weeks. The new initiative of audio clips by children comes in the wake of difficulties faced by visually-challenged students during the lockdown,” said Sangeetha.
“We asked our R.E.A.D Club Kids to record small audio stories and poems for the benefit of the blind. As we associate with a couple of organisations that support the vision-impaired community, we turned it into an opportunity to involve our kids. They joined wholeheartedly and we started recording from the first week of February,” said Deepalakshmi.