Saksham: Providing ‘vision’ to visually impaired

Share this

Source: Seva-English      Date: 03 Oct 2012 17:29:01

$img_titleThe blinds do not see. We just give them a stick and help them find their way through the ‘darkened’ alleys. Almost all the social organizations that provide help to the blinds follow the same ‘help them’ path. These organizations provide them much needed support, but that’s all. SAKSHAM is not an organization which would follow this beaten path. They did something more for these blind people. They actually help these ‘visually challenged’ people to see and experience the beauty of life.
$img_titleSAKSHAM is the abbreviation of Samadrishti, Kshamata Vikas Evam Anusandhan Mandal. This is a charitable national organization registered at Nagpur under the registration number MAH/654/2008(N). This organization was set up to bring all the persons with various disabilities into the main stream of our nation. SAKSHAM believes that the disabled people are not the burden on the society but assets of the nation.
$img_titleThere are books available in Braille for the visually impaired persons. This lessens their burden of academic studies. But still there are thousand other books which these people would have read otherwise. In view of providing ‘Sanskar Sahitya’ SAKSHAM through its units at Nagpur, Akola and Kalyan, creating books in Braille through computers. The workforce involved in this work includes mainly housewives or retired persons who after a brief training on computers created around 80 books in a short span of three years! These books include first ever Braille versions of ‘Dasbodh’ of Samarth Ramdas Swami, ‘Gramm Geeta’ of Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj, ‘Raanvaata’ of Maruti Chitampalli, and life sketches of Lokmanya Tilak, Gulabrao Maharaj, Jhansi Rani, etc.
$img_titleSAKSHAM has created audio book library too. So far, 500 books have been created with more than 15000 cassettes by SAKSHAM’s Nagpur unit alone. This service is provided free of cost to needy blind students. This audio library is named as Madhav Audio Books Library. The books are first created in Audio Book form with the help of voice recordings by more than 50 volunteers from various fields including housewives, retired people, professionals, teachers and students who lend their voice to record the books either on cassettes or in the digital form in computers. SAKSHAM runs such Audio Books Libraries at Nagpur, Kalyan, and Kolhapur in Maharashtra and Ambala in Haryana.
$img_titleSAKSHAM always follow the modern developments in technology and try to use them for providing more services to the visually impaired persons. One such development was “Audio Book Reader’. A landmark achievement of SAKSHAM through its 'Anusandhan' (Research) is the development of device “AUDIO BOOK READER and RECORDER’ for visually challenged. After studying number of difficulties and problems faced by visually challenged in general and students in particular regarding using Audio Books with the help of variety of devices SAKSHAM has successfully invented a device named AUDIO BOOK READER and RECORDER (ABRAR in short). This unique device is first of its kind developed in our country. Its earlier version brought to light in the month of September 2008 as ABR (Audio Book Reader) and the latest one ABRAR in August 2010 is presently being successfully used by more than 100 blind students personally and has been installed as Group Hearing Library Setup in some educational institutions including some colleges.
$img_titleLow vision is a subject not popularly known to people in our country. It is a category between Sightedness and Blindness, which cannot be corrected with medicines, surgery or use of spectacle correcting refractive error. In fact about 75-80% visually challenged are facing low vision problem. To comfort such sufferers by providing magnifiers designed by Dr. Ramesh Sathe of Pune a Low Vision Enhancement centre was established at Nagpur in collaboration with Vijaya Memorial Trust, Pune. Many people are benefited through this centre so far. SAKSHAM organized low vision enhancement camps in Gadchiroli and Nagpur Districts especially for primary standard low vision students and screened more than 300 children of which around 65 to 70 students have been benefited. Presently SAKSHAM runs Low Vision Enhancement Centers at Nagpur, Kalyan, Kolhapur and Ambala.

Eye Donation Movement
$img_titleSAKSHAM not only propagates the importance and divinity of Eye Donation, but also manages the donation of corneas through eye banking and grafting thereof to give sight. With its pledge to establish at least 100 ‘Madhav Eye Banks’ the organization so far could establish 12 licensed eye banks in various parts of the country including the states of Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh etc. (Licensed eye banks - 14, Eye collection Centres - 12, Awareness Centres - 24 ) By the end of year 2010 the chain of eye banks collected around 2500 cornea giving benefit to more than 800 corneal blind by sight restoration and many with the use of the cornea for therapeutic purpose.
Convincing any individual to donate eyes of his or her dead relative is really a tough job mainly because of the misconceptions prevalent in the society. There are about 46 lakh blinds waiting to see the world but for the lack of good cornea. Nearly 1 crore people die every year in India but only 30-35 thousand donate eyes. Madhav Netra Pedhi has taken up this Herculean task to educate and create awareness about eye donation among the masses.
Like their sighted counterparts blind people also need some moments for recreation. If such centers where a facility to regular visit for entertainment, recreation, hobby class, etc. is available through providing story books in Braille and audio, music system, TV, audio books, audio games in computers, toys, accessible indoor and outdoor games, clay models making, and many other activities. One such centre has recently been inaugurated at Akola,Maharashtra. 

Dr Avinash Chandra Agnihotri
16, Devdutta Bhavan
Rana Pratap Nagar Chowk
NAGPUR-44 00 22
(Maharashtra, India)
PHONE- 0712-2244918, 9422145554
EMAIL- [email protected], [email protected]

... ...