Listening their way to the Net – Computers@Home- By Pragya Madan
Computer Training for the visually impaired
Voice Vision: Voice Vision was started by Arti Bubna in April 2000, and was one of the first institutes in Mumbai to impart computer training to the visually impaired. She suffered from low vision herself and wanted to learn computers, and gathered the resources to start her own institute. Now, her family business of distribution in IT products finances this venture. Voice Vision runs a basic course on Windows, MS Word, MS Excel, Outlook Express and the internet , using JAWS; as well as a course on Web design. Both courses take in only two students per batch. The former is of five months duration , with classes held two hours a day, three days a week; while the latter is for 15 days, with classes held four days a day. The former costs Rs.5,000 and the latter Rs.2,000. Arti states that she gives financial assistance too.
Where enhancing computer skills is concerned, these courses serve there purpose. Prof Rao states that a couple of his students are using these skills in their workplace, and have done well there. However, he also admits that though a lot of people have come to the Center to see the kind of work their students are doing, nobody has offered them employment yet. Arti endorses this, saying that apart from low awareness about computer courses being available, even where people know about them, they are reluctant to spend so much on enhancing the skills of a visually impaired person. This is an attitude that no amount of technology can change- it’s something we have to change ourselves.