From the old Braille typewriters to modern assistive technology, there have been significant developments that have made life easier for the visually impaired. Nonetheless, their employment and economic independence continues to be a major issue.
Karna Vidya Foundation, which works towards helping the visually impaired gain economic independence, has put up a stall at the Chennai Book Fair. Its mentor K. Raghuraman, an assistant professor at Government Arts College, Nandanam, who is also visually impaired, was busy talking about e-libraries and in particular, a software - Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA).
“If installed in workplaces, the software will help the visually impaired gain employment. It is used across the country and the world but many firms hesitate to implement this,” he said.
Mr. Raghuraman explained that with help of the NVDA software, the visually impaired can make use of a keyboard to navigate the screen, and in the process, get audio feedback making the tasks assigned easier.
“ We want more people to visit to bust the myth that employing the visually impaired would lead to losses for the company,” he emphasised.
He pointed out that while the fair had provided them a good platform to raise awareness, there was hardly any change witnessed. “Employment is an important need for the visually impaired. All they need is inclusion in all spheres of life,” he said.