As we celebrate the birth anniversary of the founder of the Braille language, Louis Braille, here are three Braille-related initiatives that you can be part of.
National Association for the Blind
The history of the pan-India organization goes back to 1952. The body also introduced the white cane in India and started the first-ever Braille production unit in Mumbai.
How can you help: NAB’s volunteering programme involves making soft or Braille copies of the printed material. But volunteers will have to give a 10 to 15-minute voice audition. They also have an annual celebration as part of World Braille Day, and people are encouraged to attend or perform what they like.
Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged
How can you help: There is a paucity of books that can be accessed by the visually challenged. XRCVC’s volunteering programme aims to make print copies of books more accessible. For those interested, there is a four-hour introductory training session, and volunteers are expected to devote at least four hours per week to the programme.
This involves scanning the book, using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software that translates a word on an image into text format, and then proof-reading for any errors as the automated translation won’t be 100 per cent correct. Soft copies are then made available to the visually challenged students.
Launched in 2013 by Upasana Makati, White Print is India’s first English lifestyle magazine in Braille. The 64-pager magazine is published every month. How can you help: The magazine invites guest columns from the public. “Being a lifestyle magazine, one can write on any interesting topic. The piece can be political or it could be comic. We’ve even had a 12-year-old write a thriller for us recently,” Makati tells us.
White Print also released an illustrated storybook last month called Look Out, Look Within, and has been made available in print, Braille and sign language. “The story is about inclusion. We have already sold 100 copies. But anyone can buy the book and do readings at home or in a school with visually challenged kids,” she says, adding that there’s also a third product called Tactabet, an alphabet book in Braille that is available in Hindi and English.