Efforts are on to empower the visually impaired in Goa

On World Braille Day, January 4, we discover that braille and technology help the visually impaired, but there is still much more that needs to be done
Louis Braille created the system of braille to help the visually impaired.
Louis Braille created the system of braille to help the visually impaired.Photo: Gomantak Times

Life can be challenging for the best of us, and acquiring a degree in higher education is no cakewalk. So, imagine what it would be like for someone who is visually impaired.

“If you have the will, you can do it,” says Akshay Bhangle, a 27-year-old visually-impaired man from Sanquelim, who recently completed his MA in English Literature from Goa University.

“The road might be a little difficult, but you have to strive to achieve your goal,” he adds.

Louis Braille created the system of braille to help the visually impaired.
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Like Akshay, there are many others with visual impairment who, with the help of technological advancements in braille, are making their way forward, six dots at a time.

It was Louis Braille who created the system of braille to represent numbers and letters through raised dots. He was just five when he lost his eyesight, yet despite his disability, he was determined to study.

The National Association for the Blind (NAB), Santa Cruz, is utilising technology to help the visually impaired.
The National Association for the Blind (NAB), Santa Cruz, is utilising technology to help the visually impaired.Photo: The National Association for the Blind

At 15, he invented Braille, a system by which the visually-impaired can read and write. Over time, technology created new and innovative apps to help the visually impaired.

TECHNOLOGICAL ASSISTANCE

The National Association for the Blind (NAB), based at Santa Cruz, has around 30 students, with 20 partially and 10 completely blind students.

“There is a lot being done for students with this disability, with the use of technology. We have computers termed Non-Visual Desktop Access that are fitted with systems which can talk back when used,” says Josephine D’Souza, who lost her eyesight at around 30 years of age, and trains blind students at NAB.

"This helps a lot and can be used by blind students in any sector,” she says.

President of the NAB, Joseph Noronha, says, “The state has created awareness about blind people. Students can now answer their exams using technology and computers. Many schools admit visually-impaired students – this will help create awareness among normal students and empower students with disabilities too.”

Louis Braille created the system of braille to help the visually impaired.
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He adds, “But there are a few things that need to be worked out for the blind. For instance, with traffic signals, in some countries, there is a beep that indicates the red or green signal. This would help a blind person cross the road.”

RESTAURANT MENUS, LIFTS & TRAINS USE BRAILLE

In a remarkable stride towards inclusivity, all dining options at Taj Resorts, Vivanta and Ginger Hotels have introduced braille menus.

This initiative aims to provide an inclusive dining experience for visually-impaired guests, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the culinary delights offered by the chain of resorts.

Taj Resorts, Vivanta and Ginger Hotels have introduced braille menus in their properties.
Taj Resorts, Vivanta and Ginger Hotels have introduced braille menus in their properties.

By implementing braille menus, the resorts are not only meeting a basic need, but also promoting a culture of diversity and inclusiveness, informs the management at IHCL Resorts.

The train and lift services across the state have also adapted to braille to help those who believe in being independent.

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