Visually challenged learn to operate computers

This will enable us to lead a better life, they say

Computers are the eyes to the visually challenged persons and they must learn the skills of operating a computer for betterment of their life, said Naveen Kumar of Enable India.

He was addressing the valedictory of the three-week long computer workshop organised for students with visual impairment, on Saturday at Andhra Loyola College (ALC). Three of the visually challenged students K. Srinivas, Sai Vinayak and Prasanna Kumar demonstrated the method of using the computers using NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) software.

Sai Pawan Kumar, Joji and Satya Narayana Reddy shared their opinion on this workshop. The participants thanked the college management and Higher Education for the Persons with Special Needs (HEPSn) for their support and taking the lead in organising such events. The skills the students learnt through this workshop would enable them to lead a better life, they said.

Principal of ALC Fr. G.A.P. Kishore, appreciated the role played by HEPSn volunteers and declared that the ALC would support these activities rigorously.

Correspondent Fr. S. Raju said that the goal of education was not only to make the students academically bright but also to make them sensitive to people and enable them grow as value-based leaders. The project HEPSn contributed to this mission, he felt.

The HEPSn coordinator Sahaya Baskaran said cricket matches would be organised for the visually challenged students on Sundays as such activities would boost the morale of the students.

One of the students, Suvarchala, proposed the vote of thanks and participation certificates were given to students as well as volunteers who supported this project. The whole programme was anchored and conducted by the visually challenged students of ALC.

Vice-Principals Fr. Melchior and G. Sambasiva Rao, and Dean of Students Activities Syam Sunder participated.


5K Walk for visually challenged

Participants at the 5K Walk organised on World Braille Day on Necklace Road on Monday.- PHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL

Participants at the 5K Walk organised on World Braille Day on Necklace Road on Monday.


On the occasion of World Braille Day, the crew of upcoming Telugu movie ‘Minugurulu,’ a movie on the visually impaired, organised a 5K Walk on Necklace Road on Monday. Director and Producer of the film Ayodhyakumar Krishnamsetty said the 5K Walk was aimed at creating awareness about everyday challenges that the visually impaired persons face .An orchestra of the visually impaired students from Vishwa Dhruk Foundation was the star attraction of the event.

Visually challenged singers regale shoppers

Sravya, a visually challenged singer, performing at CMR Central on the occasion of Louis Braille's birth anniversary in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.—Photo: K.R. Deepak

Sravya, a visually challenged singer, performing at CMR Central on the occasion of Louis Braille’s birth anniversary in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.—Photo: K.R. Deepak

 Melodious notes greeted shoppers who were cashing in on the Pongal shopping frenzy at CMR Central on Saturday. Inquisitive visitors jostled through the crowd to catch a glimpse of the artist on stage and were surprised when they found that the beautiful voices belonged to visually challenged singers.

The event was organised at the atrium of the mall to celebrate the 205th birth anniversary of Louis Braille the inventor of the Braille system of reading and writing. Visually challenged singers were given a platform to showcase their musical talent and enthral shoppers who gathered around tapping their feet to the beat. The organisers also aimed to spread awareness about the disability and the way Louis Braille had changed the lives of so many people with his work.


After the performance, winners of a contest that was conducted on television for visually impaired singers were felicitated. Sravya from Hyderabad won the first prize that came with prize money of Rs. 1 lakh. S. Jyothi from Kakinada bagged the second spot and Yelamanda from Guntur came third. Balram from Visakhapatnam bagged the fourth place and Vikramswamy from Vijayawada stood fifth.


Toast to technology

On Louis Braille’s birthday today, three visually-challenged youngsters tell Neeraja Murthy how technology brought light into their lives



It was not easy for Nagababu J. to get a B. Tech degree. It involved a few writ petitions and saying no to a suggestion that he learn typewriting. “Like a movie story, my student life had problems, but the ending is happy,” smiles Nagababu. He was born blind but that was hardly a deterrent for this academically brilliant and competitive student. “I knew my goal and I was willing to work hard towards it. At every step, there were hurdles but my parents and friends gave me moral support and encouraged me to compete with them. I owe a lot to Swarnalatha and her husband Gunashekar at Samanvai (a rehabilitation centre), who pushed my case and helped me join B.Tech,” says Nagababu.

An alumni of Gudlavalleru Engineering College, his college placement fetched him a job at Wipro as a project engineer. “My college practical exams were fun as the authorities were thrilled to see a visually challenged person connect electronic circuits so easily,” he says with a laugh.

He worked at Wipro for three years before moving on to his current job at Infosys as a technology analyst. “I work like any other software guy handling software development, maintenance, design and analysis,” he says.

“If we set a goal and work towards it with a positive attitude, regardless of the problems, we will have a happy ending,” he asserts.




Mahender Vaishnav is an all rounder in every sense. He is a member of the Indian blind cricket team and has played 42 matches for the country and also handles facility management at A 2 Z Infra Management that works for G.E. Global Services Site. Mahender was six when he was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Sydrome (SJS) a rare disorder due to a medical reaction. “I did not lose my confidence,” he smiles and continues, “I was passionate about cricket and used to regularly participate in different cultural programmes.” He got selected for Andhra Pradesh Ranji blind team and went to Goa to play his first match against Kerala. “My only disappointment has been that I could not participate in the World Cup twice because of my exams,” he recalls.

Working with multiple applications has made his job easy. He works in three shifts and handles security arrangements, housekeeping and building management among other things. “We read with Braille at the entry level. Now with technology, we are able put our best foot forward with confidence,” he says.

Married with two children, Mahender has his finger crossed for the Pakistan series to take place next month.



For customers seeking loans at the Bank of Baroda branch at Lakdi-ka-Pul, it was a pleasant surprise to encounter a visually-challenged staffer, Kali Shekar. “I would perform all my duties like any other person and my colleagues were helpful,” remembers Kali Shekar. Except cash, he dealt with issues related to loans in retail. Now, he works as a probationary officer in State Bank of India in Narasannapet in Srikakulam and is happy to be there as it is his home town. He was visually-challenged by birth but that was never a deterrent to work towards his dream. “My blessing was that I could travel to different places as my father was in the Army and that exposure boosted my confidence,” he says. He plays chess and while in school represented India at the World Junior Chess Championship held in 2003.

Initially, Shekar was interested in media and studied journalism at the University of Hyderabad. He even did his internship at The Hindu before shifting gears and moving to a different profession. “I took up banking as a profession as it is one of the stable jobs and I could showcase my skills,” says the 27-year-old. When not working, he spends time browsing Facebook.


Electronic cane to support visually challenged

The cane developed by the VACSS is easy to use and costs a maximum of Rs. 2,500

In a smart world man has a number of gadgets to make his work and life comfortable and communicate faster. But for the visually challenged poor, it is still a cane that helps him/her find way. With increasing population and traffic and spaces becoming more crowded, its use is becoming difficult.

To help overcome the handicap, the Vision Aid Charitable Services Society (VACSS) here has come out with an electronic cane.

The cane measuring 20 inches is made of UPVC. It comprises a sensor with transmitter and receiver at the lower-end, a vibrator close to the grip and works on a rechargeable battery.

Beeps and vibrations

When the user switches it on, it emits broken beeps and vibration when the object/obstacle is in the vicinity and continuous beep when closer. The beep is to alert the other people about the presence of a visually challenged person and the vibration alerts the user about the objects in the path.

“The range is about 1.5 metres. Anything longer is likely to be counterproductive and if it is too short may lead to collision,” explains M.S. Raju, president of VACSS.

Quoting World Health Organisation statistics, Mr. Raju, an IITian from Kharagpur and former executive chairman of the Stone Telecom, says while about two crore people have visual impairment in the country, the highest in the world, half of them cannot see at all.

About 20 lakh have to move about to lead their life. For them there has not been any improvement over the white cane for a long time now, he observes.

Mr. Raju says the electronic cane being produced in the other countries is either expensive or the research is incomplete.

In the country, IIT, Delhi and Kharagpur, have developed prototypes with more sensors and analogue system where the users are alerted through earphones. However, it cuts off the user from the environment, he points out. They are costlier, longer and heavier, he says.

The cane developed by the VACSS is easy to use and costs a maximum of Rs.2,500.


  • The cane measuring 20 inches is made of UPVC
  • It comprises a sensor with transmitter and receiver at the lower-end, a vibrator close to the grip and works on a rechargeable battery



The cane developed by the VACSS is easy-to-use and costs a maximum of Rs. 2,500