This Trust has a bouquet of offers for the blind

Gifting Braille textbooks

This Trust has a bouquet of offers for the blind

Poornachandra Tejaswi’s dream for higher education would have come down crashing if not for the braille books that were provided to him for free.

Today, he is employed with Canara Bank in the city. City-based Sahana Charitable Trust has taken the initiative of providing braille books for free to visually-challenged students wanting to pursue higher education.

The organisation’s initiative becomes significant as the State government provides braille books to students only till SSLC. Lack of braille books is one of the main reasons for visually-challenged students to discontinue education after class 10. 

What makes the initiative stand out is the fact that there are not many organisations that are involved in printing braille books for higher education. Officials of the Directorate of Welfare of Disabled and Senior Citizens confirmed that even though talks are on with the State government to introduce braille in colleges, at present, the benefit is extended only for schoolchildren. 

Far from meeting the demand, “there are only three organisations in the State that are involved in printing braille books,” according to Trust president V Narasimhaiah. Every year, the organisation prints between 500 and 1,000 textbooks in braille. Most of them pertain to PU subjects. Since there is demand for bachelors degree and post graduation braille books as well, based on request, the Trust takes up printing of these books as well. 

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Tejaswi said: “I would not have studied after class 10 if not for the braille books. With the help of the books I completed MA in Music. For my bachelors degree too, I depended on the books provided by the Trust. Importantly, they were provided to me for free. It is not possible for an individual to buy braille books as they are very expensive.”

At present employed as a clerk in Canara Bank, Tejaswi’s father works in their native Chitradurga as a first division clerk. It comes as a huge relief for him that today, he can support his family and can ask his father to relax at home. Tejaswi is but one of the success stories of the organisation. From government hospitals to labour welfare office and insurance companies, several candidates who picked up their books from the organisation have gained employment. 

This year too, orders have been placed for more than 400 textbooks. As the World Literacy Day was observed on September 8, the question of sustenance of the Trust looms large. They might not be able to continue printing the books, for, they need Rs 3,000 per subject per student to print the braille book, Narasimhaiah said. 

The Trust also runs a hostel for visually-challenged girls and 30 students studying PUC, degree and PG courses reside in the hostel. This too is facing the risk of being closed down owing to acute shortage of funds. “To be able to meet the demand for braille books, we need more funds and to safeguard the hostel students’ future, we need permanent shelter,” Narasimhaiah added. 

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