Sushmeetha Bubna does not believe in giving money or food as a sign of sympathy to people with disability. She wants to empower them so that they can create a better future for themselves.
“It is a one-time deed. When you help them get knowledge and skill, you can make them earn for a lifetime, and that is what I am doing,” says Sushmeetha, Founder, Voice Vision, Institution for Computer Training and Overall Development of Blind, Visually Impaired and Low Vision.
Sushmeetha is the recipient of Dr. Batra’s Positive Health Award 2010. Voice Vision is the recipient of the National Award for best accessible website 2011.
She started the institution in 2000. There are many from the age of 8 to 65 who have transformed their lives, thanks to the training they received at her institution.
Sushmeetha Bubna was born in a well-educated, business family. She was born with cataract that was detected only at the age of 5. The cataract in her right eye was successfully operated at the age of 7. A self-dissolving capsule, which was placed in the eye after operation caused complications and had to be operated upon again. But this time she suffered a hemorrhage in the eye with retinal detachment and lost vision in the right eye completely.
A year and a half later, at 13, she was affected with the retinal detachment in the left eye as well. It was operated upon at Shankara Netralaya and she gained vision and continued her studies, but retinal detachment struck again, when she was in 10th standard.
Only a few months from the crucial board exams, she was operated again at Chennai. Her school (Umedbhai Patel English School) principal feared poor performance, because it took 2 months to regain vision after the operation and there wasn’t enough time for her to prepare for the exams. With the of a private tutor who would record the lessons on an audio tape and she wrote her exams without vision and cleared the exams.
She continued her education and graduated in commerce. But could not fulfill her dream of doing Masters in marketing management, as she was not allowed, due to her vision problem and had to compromise with a Diploma in Administrative Management, from NMIS. Later she enrolled into a rehabilitation course at NAB, Mahalaxmi, where she learnt mobility, Braille, cooking and also vocational trades as Broom making, cycle repairing, agarbati making etc.
“My life became totally dark at 24 when I lost complete vision in 1999. I came to know about assistive technology in using computers, but to my despair I could not find anyone to teach me its use. I started learning on my own and this is what motivated me to start an institution to help people like me,” she says.
Since April 2000 Voice Vision has been enabling visually impaired with help of technology, promoting social inclusion, facilitating interaction between them, their families and the society and enabling them to peruse their dream.