‘Soft’ support to conquer vision barriers

Charitable society offers courses in computers to the visually impaired

Published - July 02, 2016 10:51 am IST - VISAKHAPATNAM:

Visually impaired students at the spoken English class at Ba-Bapu Bhavan in Visakhapatnam.

Visually impaired students at the spoken English class at Ba-Bapu Bhavan in Visakhapatnam.

Realising the importance of English language skills in improving employability and prospects for those visually impaired already employed, Vision Aid Charitable Services Society (VACSS) has begun imparting it to its students.

With two trained teachers and VACSS founder-president M. Sanyasi Raju himself taking a keen interest, the society has been offering certificate and diploma courses in computers to the visually impaired since 2006.

“Of the 780 persons who have been trained, some 50 per cent got seats in under and post-graduate courses and 30 per cent got jobs in the government and public sector owing to the 1 per cent reservation,” says Mr. Sanyasi Raju.

Having been trained in using non-visual desktop access technology, their written English is good and suits the language used on computers but they lagged behind in spoken communication, he observes.

Since they are not able to recognise the presence of people and the general tendency among people is to speak to others it had become difficult for them to communicate, particularly in English which is being increasingly used in offices and businesses, Mr. Raju, former Executive Chairman of Stone Telecom and former professor of XLRI, Jamshedpur, elaborates. Besides they lack the advantage of body language that performs a very useful function in communicating. As a result they are not able to interact with colleagues and members of the public. They are generally relegated to the back office work and this is affecting their advancement to meaningful positions, he says.

To help overcome it, Vision Aid has launched a spoken English course last month coinciding with its 12th anniversary.

Online training

To equip themselves with the necessary skills, the two teachers at its centre at Ba Bapu Bhavan -- M. Ramadevi and Bh.Pushpalata -- have received online training for six months from the US.

Now along with computer course, spoken English skills are also imparted with emphasis on speaking full sentences, basic grammar like verbs and nouns and homophones. The language course covers general life conditions relating to safety, mobility, courtesy and business interaction, says Mr. Raju. The courses are offered free of cost. VACSS also provides accommodation.

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