Students of a lesser God – Mid Day- By Uma UpadhyayaDate : 21-11-2000
AT VOICE VISION, A BLIND INSTRUCTOR IMPARTS COMPUTER TRAINING TO THE BLIND!!
Mumbai: Voice Vision is an institute with a difference – it imparts computer training to the blind. And what’s more, the person who teaches them is also blind.
“My main aim is to ensure that every student I train gets some job and becomes independent in life.” says Arti Bubna, who has started a computer training centre for the visually impaired.
“With the country on the fast track of Information Technology, it has become imperative for even the visually handicapped people to train themselves in computers,” says Arti.
The institution was started in April this year. Arti decided to start the training centre after she was denied admission at NIIT. “People underestimate the blind. I want to prove that even we are capable of working on computers,” she said.
Arti was born with a cataract in both her eyes. Her eyesight steadily declined. She was operated on the right eye in 1980, but the operation was unsuccessful.
The left eye was operated in 1982 and the operation was successful. the right eye was again operated on after two years but later her vision started blurring steadily. Ultimately, she lost her vision of the right eye. In 1988, there was a detachment in the retina of her left eye and it vision too started deteriorating.
“I learned through audio cassettes and appeared for my SSC exams.: Even with low vision in her left eye and no vision in the right one, she graduated in commerce and also obtained a diploma in administrative management, says her father who has a business in electronics.
Arti’s institute is well-equipped with the latest hardware. the students are trained using the latest Screen Reading Software called JAWS specially designed for the blind by an American company.
Arti herself trains the students. Presently she has nine students and they are charged Rs. 5000 for the completed course.
However, though the first batch was to be completed around October, the students have still not completed the training. “I am not training for the monetary benefit and there is no time limit for the course. I see to it that a lesson is done thoroughly, and only then do I proceed to the next lesson,: Arti says.
The students are taught using the normal keyboard, but there is a speaker attached to it which spells out whatever is typed.
“I do not understand why people think that the blind cannot work on computers. Does typist look at the keyboard while typing? It is just practice that makes a man perfect,” says Arti.
“I thought I would never be able to learn computers while my friends used to attend computer classes. I am glad that I can now learn computers,” says Snehal Chandgothia, one of Arti’s student.