For some, lockdown throws open a new path

Online courses aim at equipping the visually challenged in computer skills

May 17, 2020 11:07 pm | Updated 11:07 pm IST - KOCHI

Dona Sajan, a visually challenged student, taking an online course.

Dona Sajan, a visually challenged student, taking an online course.

It was two weeks ago that Dona Sajan, a visually challenged student, could mail her first email from her laptop computer. Till then, Ms. Sajan, a student of English literature from Kollam, was compelled to access her inbox from her smartphone. If she had to use her computer, she had to take help from her brother.

As the world remained shut at home during the COVID-19-induced lockdown, she, along with 80 others overcame their disability and mastered a technology to improve their life skills. The youth wing of the Kerala Federation of the Blind came up with a tech-training online programme for the visually challenged persons using the app Google Zoom.

After two online sessions, Ms. Sojan sent her first mail from her laptop to techtrainingkfbyf@gmail. com thus crossing a milestone. The sessions were focused on using office programmes such as Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, browsing the web, accessing Facebook account, and downloading books from the internet, she said.

Screen Reader app

The programme, right from organising the sessions to designing the training modules and bringing the participants together, was arranged by visually challenged persons, said B. Anilkumar, the State president of the youth wing. The participants are first trained in using the app Screen Reader which can be installed in computers and smartphones. The participants will learn to use technology to better their lives, he said.

Two public outreach sessions were also organised to spread the message among the public. The latest one was held on Sunday and attended by cricketer Sreesanth. More such sessions are in the pipeline, explained Mr. Anilkumar, who is a bank employee.

Technology is holding the hands of the differently abled to move ahead in life.

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