THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Now, even the visually impaired can have access to textbooks and mocks tests. Save a Rupee, Spread a Smile (SARSAS), a city-based NGO has come up with a unique endeavour, the Voice Donation project, which aims to create audio versions of textbooks and other books for the visually impaired.
The initiative is by SARSAS in association with Insight Project under the Social Justice Department and Kerala Federation for Blind, Thiruvananthapuram. The project has been able to create audio versions of 25 books in a year. These finished books have already been made available to the visually impaired community via Insight. “This project is specially designed for the visually impaired to help them learn different subjects in contrast to braille books which are bulky. The project also provides a space for those who have mobility problems,” said Deepa A, president of SARSAS.
The long-term courses include mock tests and previous year question and answer papers related to the SS, Bank and PSC general examinations. Although notes are available in English and Hindi, most are in Malayalam. For the purpose, SARSAS has created two groups on Whatsapp 'Sakhya Discussion group' and 'Sakhya Notes room'. The voice-over for the notes are provided by voice donors and until now 18 volunteers are providing the same.
"I am currently preparing for my PSC exams and when I came across this project, I thought of creating audio notes. I prepared lessons on Constitution during my free time and divided it into three classes,” said Ajeesh A S, a voice donor of the project.
Having begun four years ago, the project has been able to mobilise around 200 people in the city to donate their voices for creating the audio versions of books for not just educating the visually impaired but also others who cannot afford coaching centres for competitive examinations. Praveen S Balan, a user who had cracked the bank examination shared how the audio notes helped him achieve his goal.
“I was preparing for my bank exams but didn't have time to go for coaching classes. Around this time one of my friends told me about the audio books under the voice donation project. I started using these audio books and it was very helpful for me. I could easily understand the reasoning questions without having to go for coaching classes.” A meeting was recently held with the voice donors, end users and other stakeholders in Kerala Federation of Blind Thiruvananthapuram wherein they listed out future activities for making the project a huge success.