As a student you have so much to worry about. Just before exams, wholesale photocopies of topper’s notes are brought out; libraries are out of stock of the important reference books and you are busy finding people who would share them with you. But what if you couldn’t use these mass circulated means of preparation? What if you want that post graduate degree but you are unable to see? Hard to imagine right? Fortunately there are people who have the vision to fulfill this need of the visually impaired.
On January 4th, the birthday of Louis Braille, who invented the six-dot language for the blind, the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped (NIVH) launched the Online Braille Library at the Ali Yawar Jung Institute for the Hearing Handicapped in Mumbai. With over 12,000 titles in 14 different languages, it is dedicated to help visually-impaired post graduate students with prescribed texts from numerous colleges across India without any charge. By offering reading formats in Braille as well as audio, the library will cater to students in subjects ranging from mathematics ans IT to history and literature.
This initiative was started in 2009. It took close to 18 months to convert all the texts into a Unicode font,which can be read in Braille as well as audio. The online library will thus be a resource that allows students to read in Braille using an add-on computer equipment called Refreshable Braille Display and in audio using voice software such as JAWS.