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Category: Get Hooked

Date: Jun 23, 2017

Generally, disabled students find it difficult to navigate public spaces in colleges and educational institutes due to the inaccessible infrastructure.

However, students with disabilities at Delhi University’s Indraprastha College for Women have many reasons to enjoy. It is because the college has been providing many accessible facilities for disabled students since 2013.

The entrance of the college has tactile tracks, which provides the visually impaired students the required help to move around in the college on their own.

Different ramps have also been set up for students with physical disability using wheelchairs. The college also provides three wheelchairs, out of which one is used by the medical room for emergencies.

The officials have made sure that visually impaired students get access to computers with special Braille software. It is a software that helps the blind use the computer without any guidance. The canteen of the college also provides special Braille menus for the visually impaired students.

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Category: Get Hooked

Date: Jun 23, 2017

98-year-old Nanammal Amma is the oldest yoga guru in the country. She learned yoga from her grandfather and grandmother who died at the age of 107.

All her family members also practice yoga and take inspiration from the discipline and self-control of Nanammal Amma.

She has won six gold medals in national level competitions for Yoga. Amma has trained hundreds of people in Yoga who came to become her students.

She still practices yoga three times a day and believes it to be the reason for her physical fitness.

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Category: Get Hooked

Date: Jun 23, 2017

I did my graduation from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru College. I am vision impaired by almost 100%. My sight started diminishing during college and I had to switch to e-text.

There was no facility to get books converted into accessible format like many universities have now.

This meant that I had to scan all the study materials on my own and convert them into e text, which was a big challenge. The other challenge was getting a writer during exams. The whole process was quite orthodox and bureaucratic. One had to go the university that the college was affiliated to for permission. The university was three hours away and to travel there each and every time for a letter was quite hard. I feel the college principal should have been given the authority to issue these letters.

It would have helped if the computer labs had suitable software like screen reading software. The colleges can be more proactive so students get to focus on their studies rather than handle logistics. The basic study material should be provided. I know providing accessible content in math is hard but at least theoretical material can be made accessible.

I want to make a special mention of the professors and staff who made up for the shortcomings by being very supportive. They did everything they could do to help me. They took time to explain concepts and gave extra copies.

About the Writer

25-year-old Ajay Minocha went on to do his MBA from IIM-Indore. He is currently based in Mumbai and works in the investment banking division of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

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    Category: Get Hooked

    Date: Jun 23, 2017

    Shweta Govind and Govind Gorur are a couple from Bengaluru who left their high paying jobs to stay close to nature.

    The couple were earning around one lakh rupee every month while they lived in Bengaluru. Now they live in a place called Marakkanam and work for the rehabilitation of elephants.

    The couple have no regrets about their life changing decision of not living in a bigger place and are content with their efforts to conserve wildlife.

    They work with an NGO that takes care of elephants released from captivity. They are happy with their present life and want to continue working for welfare of the wild animals.

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    Category: Get Hooked

    Date: Jun 23, 2017

    Taxation on disability aids, via GST, will only further keep out the differently-abled population in India because these items are necessary. Most PWD tend to belong to the lower middle class, and even a small increase in cost will place a huge financial load on them.

    Take the case of someone who is visually impaired, for instance. A person with normal vision will never be able to understand what it means to be blind. I ask Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, and the GST Council to list the government offices and public buildings, and public transportation means that are completely accessible to the blind, or those with mobility impairment. Everyone knows that there are very few.

    I live in Coimbatore and I am quite sure that no single government office/building is completely accessible to PwD. When enquiries are made, the common response one hears is that funds have been allocated, work is in progress, and buildings will be completely accessible in the coming years.

    In all fairness, I think the government should increase the prices of essential aids such as braille paper, braille typewriters, etc. only after significantly improving accessibility. The GST intends to increase the price of cars for the physically handicapped by 18%. Why? In a country where accessible public transportation, both bus and rail, is mostly non-existent, how is a wheelchair user supposed to travel independently anywhere? If additional revenue is the intent, why not increase the tax on alcohol, or on luxury cars that are priced at Rs 20 lakh or more?

    I request Mr Jaitley and members of the GST council to sit on a wheelchair costing around Rs.10, 000, and get to the railway station via public transport, or take a train to any big city. I doubt if they have any idea of what it means to be differently-abled in our country. If those in power cannot make the right decisions, how can one expect the general public to promote the required change for an inclusive society?

    It's a shame that one even has to debate this and make so many appeals for things that are essential to a marginalized and largely poor population. Until overall accessibility, which means public & private infrastructure, information and opportunities, is significantly improved, an inclusive society will only be a dream.

    About the Writer

    Anand Selvaraj is 39 years old and has been living with a spinal cord injury for 17 years. He is independently employed and is based in Coimbatore.

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      Category: Get Hooked

      Date: Jun 23, 2017

      A yoga-based school outside Karnataka is home to 80 blind children who perform yoga on the ropes with great ease. Their technique has won them national and international accolades.

      The name of the school is Jnanasindhu Residential School and it is located in Gadag District in Holealur. The school opened in 2002 with just four children and is now home to 80 kids between the ages of five and 16 years and 35 of them are girls.

      The school is run by 70-year-old Tulsamma Kelur and her son. They aim to establish the self-esteem of these children through moral, cultural, and regular school education. Apart from the regular syllabus, which is taught in Braille, the students are trained in yoga and classical music.

      Since these children come from very poor families, most of the parents do not support them when they go out and perform in competitions. The school aims to make them independent and not a burden on their families.

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      Category: Get Hooked

      Date: Jun 22, 2017

      49-year-old Glorio Rodrigues from Varca in Goa has celebral palsy. But his disability has not come in the way of running a successful business in selling newspapers for the last 18 years.

      Celebral palsy is caused by brain damage while a child's brain is developing. It could be before birth, during birth or immediately after birth. It affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance.

      Everyone living in Varca and the other nearby villages either buy their news daily from Rodrigues or it is delivered by him at their doorsteps. Rodrigues has got two boys who deliver the papers door-to-door for him.

      Like all newspaper sellers, his day starts early. He takes the delivery of his news dailies at 4 AM, and everyday he sells 800 newspapers.


      Category: Get Hooked

      Date: Jun 22, 2017

      The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) came up with a unique initiative for the hearing impaired children in the city.

      The corporation’s education department organised a sign language workshop for the members of Nagpur for Kids (NFK) club recently.

      The workshop highlighted the difficulties of the hearing impaired children in the society. Children members of the club got to know about different hearing and speech disabilities. They also got to learn 26 alphabets and their names in sign language.

      The initiative is a step to teach children to respect people despite their disability and an attempt to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing communities.


      Category: Get Hooked

      Date: Jun 21, 2017

      Paul Muddha, who is a senior bank manager in Bengaluru, was born visually impaired and was abandoned in a school for the blind as a child.

      Today, he runs a centre for training people who are vision and hearing impaired with computer and vocational skills that are needed to earn a living and be independent.

      Muddha is determined to help as many disabled people as possible. Over the last nine years, he has been helping blind and hearing-impaired youth from Karnataka and other states adapt to technology.

      His trainees have found jobs in companies like CISCO, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, banks and private agencies. Some of them have become lawyers, lecturers and chartered accountants.

      Muddha says that in 2008, his centre has trained around 850 blind youths and supported around 12,000 to 15,000 people who are disabled. These include mentally challenged, hearing impaired and visually impaired with educational support, boarding facilities, aids and equipment.

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      Category: Get Hooked

      Date: Jun 21, 2017

      For people who have a family member with a disability, vacations can be hard to plan. A town in Maine in the United States is trying to make it a little easier for people with disabilities to enjoy the beach.

      An organization that works with the disabled has given Wells a floating wheelchair that brings people right in the water so they can enjoy the sand and the waves.

      The organization, called Smile Mass, has been started by two mothers who have children with disabilities and found it hard to go on vacation. Their aim is to give families a vacation or even a day trip without worrying about barriers.

      The floating chair has three wheels that are wider but smaller than those of a regular wheelchair. It also has two flotation devices in place of armrests.

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