After being turned away from computer training classes, this visually-impaired woman started her own institute- DNA- By Anagha Sawant
Sushmeetha B Bubna, 42, will never forget the day she was refused admission for a computer training course because she was visually-impaired. Instead of losing heart, she became all the more adamant and eventually founded Voice Vision, an NGO for visually-challenged people on April 3, 2000.
The NGO started as an organisation that helped provide computer training to visually-challenged people but soon expanded, adding several other courses and training sessions to its list. “I founded the NGO to recover my waning confidence. I learnt the basic tutorial on how to use computers with the help of audio tapes and started the institute. Fifteen years ago when we started, we had around seven students who joined for the computer training programme. There were hardly any institutes for visually-impaired people back then. I was no expert in the field, but I gave it my best shot. I made notes and did my background work every time I gave a lecture. In a way it was a learning process for me too,” said Bubna, who is a B.Com graduate and also has a Diploma in Administrative Management.
She was born with cataract that was detected at the age of four. After an operation at the age of seven, she suffered a haemorrhage in the eye with retinal detachment, losing complete vision in the right eye. Later, she was affected with retinal detachment in the left eye as well, just before she was supposed to give her 10th standard board examination. She underwent another surgery and her vision in the left eye was restored after three months.
Recalling the toughest period of struggle she faced in her life, she said, “Fearing that I will not pass my board examination, my school’s principal initially refused to give me permission to sit for the exams. My father managed to convince her after a lot of coaxing. A private tutor was appointed for me, who used to record the notes for me and save it as audio tapes.”
She explained how her family, who is her pillar of strength, went to every extent possible to ensure that her endeavour to do something in life was fulfilled. “My father use to copy notes for me from my friend’s book, while travelling in local trains. My sister and brother would do the same as well. Back then, we did not know about the concept of a writer, who could help me write my papers. I wrote my board examination on my own, by asking the moderator to dictate the questions to me. While writing my answers, I did not know whether I had written it in a straight line or drawn my geometric figures properly. However, I managed to pass the examination in the first attempt itself,” she recalled with a smile.
The NGO conducts various sessions for the visually-impaired people. The sessions include training them to improve their social skills, educating them against any form of abuse and first-aid workshops etc. They have also started a matrimonial service for the disabled people. “It’s a unique initiative which focuses on enhancing the lives of an individual without the mental barrier of impairment. We act like facilitators, helping other people unite,” she said.
Talking about the journey of the NGO so far, Bubna, said, “The journey has been fantastic till date. At the end of the day, I am satisfied with the work I do. The attitude of the people towards me has changed. My parents have always been there to support me from the day I opened the NGO. For the last 13 years, we have managed to finance the NGO, however, donations are very helpful.”
If you want to contribute to Voice Vision, here are the account details for fund transfer. You can also visit their website for more information.
Bank Account Name: BBMTRUST – VOICE VISION PROJECT
Bank Name: BANK OF INDIA
Branch Name: Malad West
Bank Account Number: 003110110012548
IFSC Code: BKID0000031
MICR Code: 400013037
All donations are tax-deductible under Section 80G of IT Act 1960.