Visually impaired children now have a rich fund of accessible knowledge in the form of braille books, audio books, tactile books, made available by the Creative Resource Centre, housed within the Hippocampus Children’s Library in Chennai.
An initiative by the Karadi Cultural Alliance Trust in association with the Sir Ratan Tata Trust Fund, the CRC contains over a hundred Braille titles, including tactile books drawn from books published by popular children’s book houses. The centre also has a collection of famous folktales of India in the audio format and will house tactile kits and toys.
The pilot centre was set up for visually impaired children aged four to fourteen years. A specialised catalogue of content has also been acquired to be handed over to the respective libraries.
Need for the CRC
About 26 per cent of an estimated blind population of 15 million in India is below the age of 15. The specialised institutions, roughly 600 in number, that cater to the education of these children, barely serve 2 per cent of the blind children population.
The CRC is a service-oriented project that aims to stimulate the creative development of these children, instead of providing them with basic curricular materials alone. The aim is to enhance their emotional and intellectual growth.
Launch of the Pilot Centre
The pilot centre was launched in Chennai on August 3, 2012, by Dr. I. Arivanandam, Regional Director of the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped.
Dr. I. Arivanandam lauded the effort and emphasised the importance of Braille as a language of empowerment and inclusion. “A brave, unique and much-needed venture,” he said. “The CRC is the first library of its kind in India that celebrates integration of visually-impaired children with the mainstream.”