Gifting Vision- Westside Plus- By Anita Seth
She loves watching movies, yapping away for hours on the phone and has a sweet tooth. Arti Bubna is just like any other young girl except for that one thing which makes her very special. She is visually impaired but has not lost sight of her dreams and ambition!!
Born with a cataract in both her eyes, Arti underwent a series of surgeries for removal of cataract and post removal compilations. She suffered a hemorrhage in the eye with retinal detachment and lost vision in the right eye completely. There was also a detachment in the retina of her left eye and its vision too started deteriorating and all of this at a time when her board exams were just a few days away!
“I learned through audio cassettes and appeared for my SSC exams,” recalls Arti. In spite of all odds and impaired vision she graduated in commerce and also obtained a Diploma Administrative Management from NMIMS. The day finally came when she lost her sight to a greater extent but kept that inner light burning steadily.
With the help of her brother, she came across JAWS, a software that reads out everything on a computer screen. This is a product of Freedom Scientific an American company that has most of its employees who are blind themselves!
Says Arti, “The best part about this software is that on touching any key it gives you a voice feedback. Alt and Tab and arrow keys replace the mouse pointer to navigate. On typing a letter it not only has voice-enabled functions like spelling and grammar check but also spells out difficult words and changes tone when it comes across a capital letter.
Blessed with a business mind, Arti went on to become the only dealer for JAWS in India. Going by the business model of teaching computers to the blind at her Voice Vision Computer Training Institute she sells this software to her students. JAWS software cost $1,000, nearly Rs. 50,000/- and is an impossible dream for many. Arti provides that ray of hope by allowing her students to use demo copies to practice and be capable enough to get a job. “Once they are financially secure with a steady monthly income the software can be purchased,” says Atri.
“Some of my students cannot pay a lump sum amount of Rs 5000/- which we charge as fees. In such cases we accept whatever they are comfortable paying. My aim was to reach out to others like me and letting them know that it’s not the end.” Of all the 35 students who have passed out from her institute, many of them are working and are financially indispensable.
She dreams of the day when society accepts the visually impaired the way they are, unconditionally.
Arti can be contacted on 28755300/1/2.