Madurai

In Madurai, volunteers read textbooks to visually impaired students

Volunteers read out portions from text books to visually impaired students

Volunteers read out portions from text books to visually impaired students   | Photo Credit: R. ASHOK

The reading sessions were part of a ‘Read Fest’ organised by an NGO, Lit the Light

For M. Shankar Pranav, a software engineer, a day spent at the Indian Association for the Blind (IAB) in Sundarajanpatti on Saturday was different from his usual weekend routine. Mr. Pranav, along with other volunteers read out portions of textbooks to 120 visually challenged students as part of the ‘Read Fest 2020’ organised by Chennai-based Lit the Light, a non-governmental organisation.

The Read Fest, which was organised for the first time in Madurai, was an event where the students had a one-to-one reading session with the volunteers.

Founder of Lit the Light S.N. Barath said that visually impaired students usually study in Braille until class 8. Later, they would require the help of others to read and write during examinations. “However, there is usually a shortage in the number of volunteers. Sometimes, a well-prepared student would not be able to write the examination due to the absence of a scribe,” he said. “By sparing a few hours every week, one can help in creating drastic differences in the lives of the visually impaired,” he said.

Speaking during the session, District Employment Officer V. Senthilnathan, said that volunteering at the right moment will help the visually impaired to a great extent.

The response to the event on Saturday was overwhelming, said the co-Founder of Lit the Light, C. Ramkumar. “While we had initially expected around 150 volunteers, more than 180 participated in the session. The additional volunteers were used for recording audio books which will be later used by the visually impaired students,” he said.

M. Durga Priyadarshini, a student from Lady Doak College said that she had always wanted to help, but did not know how to. “By reading out to the visually impaired students, I got a chance to understand their needs. Also, it was an opportunity to make new friends,” she said.

M. Sneha, a Class 10 visually impaired student, said that a volunteer is always the best option during preparation for examinations. “When we listen to audio books, there is no scope to clarify out doubts. But, a volunteer will help in better understanding of concepts,” she said.

The organisers also announced that regular reading sessions will be held in Madurai at different venues.

Those who are interested and available for volunteering can contact the following numbers: 9894949878/ 8056207601.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 3:35:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/in-madurai-volunteers-read-textbooks-to-visually-impaired-students/article30829087.ece

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