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Kerala government launches projects to empower visually impaired people

The government of Kerala is joining hands with NGO's and groups for welfare of visually impaired people in the state. Reports point out that Kerala has a large number of visually impaired people. Hence, it is very important to promote schemes and programmes for their welfare. One of the pioneer projects that have been launched is the Kazcha Project which is done in collaboration with the Kerala Federation of the Blind.

The project aims to provide smart phones to over 1000 visually impaired people in the state. All the smart phones will have the latest applications which will also be accessible. Net banking, location identifiers, latest news apps, mails and even WhatsApp will be installed in the mobiles. The government of Kerala has identified over 60 trainers to teach visually impaired people on how to use these smart phones and benefit from the latest technologies. A two day training class will also be held for this.

B Anil Kumar is the Chief Trainer of the 'Kazcha Project'. He has been instrumental in providing specifications for smart phones. Kumar, who works with a bank in Kerala, says that the government has been reaching out when needed. In fact, Kumar and a team of visually impaired people had visited Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac last year to discuss about the plan. They had included 300 beneficiaries and requested for an amount of Rs 40 lakh. But Issac, who was impressed by the idea, decided to cover 1500 beneficiaries to make it an Rs 1.5 crore project.

It is high time that visually impaired people get a grip of the latest technologies so that they know what is happening around them. Most of the visually impaired people are unaware of technological advances like screen reading that can be of great help to them. It makes them overcome many difficulties. They will also be taught how to use mobile applications that can be of day to day help. Currently, we have 1300 applications from which we have to choose eligible beneficiaries. This is indeed a big social change-Anil Kumar, Chief Trainer, Kazcha Project

'Kazcha Project' has already been inaugurated last week by Social welfare minister K K Shailaja. Each district will be provided with at least three master trainers and six other trainers who will impart knowledge about smart phones to the beneficiaries. The government will look into few criteria's before identifying the beneficiaries. Like for instance, a visually impaired person who has below Rs 1 lakh income will be eligible for the project. Also, students and women will be given priority. Those who are between the age group of 18 to 50 years can also benefit from the project.

Husna Ameen is one of the trainers who are part of the project.

"This project has been initiated by the Social Justice Department of the Kerala government to make the state disabled friendly. Smart phones have a great deal to do with blind and visually impaired people. Blind people are mostly ignorant about technological advances. Since these smart phones have special features, it will be of great help. They have added updated mobile applications in the phones", says Husna.

'Kazcha Project' is already getting thumbs up from people in the disabled community. At the same time, the state government is collaborating with the Thiruvananthapuram Regional Institute of Ophthalmology (RIO) to reach out to visually impaired people. The project named Punarjyothi will help to rehabilitate visually impaired people and help them lead a normal life. This project is going to be a great blessing to visually impaired people from economically backward families. The beneficiaries will have to undergo an eye test after which the doctors will recommend the best treatment for them which will be free of cost.

ALSO READ: Review petition challenging 50% vision, hearing disability limit for judge's post to be filed next week

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