Digital inclusion of the visually challenged
A training program driven by the C-DEP, was developed specifically for the visually challenged to reach a particularly under-served population. This training program, which uses affordable technology, was conducted at Lab-in-Box at NCERT by Krishnakant Mane, a scientist from IIT Mumbai. Visually challenged himself, Mane has been working on software solutions for the blind.
A visually challenged person at present is trained to use only one proprietary-accessibility software that is highly priced. This makes a legal copy out of reach for most visually challenged persons. This training program, organized under the C-DEP umbrella at the Lab-in-Box, enables access to open source solutions through cost effective hardware. The training was attended by the students from National Association for Blind, and the Kendriya Vidyalaya adjacent to the IIT, and the JNU Campus.
Similar techniques and open source technology, with affordable infrastructure, are being extended to train the illiterates, thus ensuring higher digital literacy.
This is an innovative and adequate model, wherein visually disabled provide training to the illiterates by employing technological aids, making IT a true enabler. It is estimated that by the year 2020 over 50% of the illiterate population will live in India. This model enables the access to eGovernance services to the illiterates.
In recognition of the efforts towards developing a model for digital inclusion of the visually challenged, C-DEP was invited as Guest of Honor, by the National Association for Blind (NAB) on the occasion of the 65th Independence Day of India. The trainees from across 28 States of the country were formally recognized for their performance on the training led by C-DEP on assistive technologies for the visually impaired conducted at the Lab-in-Box using the HP affordable hardware and Open source software.`