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Equal access to education

Eighteen-year-old Mohit and sixteen-year-old Niharika Kasliwal are visually impaired siblings from Kolhapur, Maharashtra. They belong to a middle-class family where the father works in a garment center and the mother sells homemade products.

When it came to educating their children, the family was supportive, even though they lacked the right information about solutions and possibilities. Both Mohit and Niharika started off in a mainstream school but faced several challenges in reading and writing. Parents, friends, and relatives offered whatever help they could.

When Mohit reached Class X, his father was concerned about career options for him. That’s the time they got in touch with the Eyeway Helpdesk. It was understood that Mohit wanted to opt for Computer Science and Niharika was interested in becoming a Chartered Accountant.

The Maharashtra Helpdesk counselor explained the various job opportunities that are open to people in both these areas, despite vision impairment. But the challenges were also real in mainstream education modes. So, both the siblings were advised to take up computer training which would enable them to study difficult concepts through the aid of technology.

They were put in touch with several organizations like the Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged, Indic AI, i-Stem for assistive solutions to help them study. Mohit and Niharika pursued computer training courses and developed the skills to read and write using technology. They accessed national and international online libraries for study material in audio and digital formats.

When they encountered inaccessible teaching methods in the classroom, the counselor advised them to request their teachers to provide notes in soft copies. Some low vision aids were also introduced to help them read. In addition, the siblings have also been recommended to take up mobility lessons which will make them both independent and confident to move around in the world.

Equal access to education bridge the gap that exists between the blind and the sighted worlds.

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