Forum makes books accessible to visually impaired, awarded

Among their initiatives, which were recognised, is an online accessible library called Sugamya Pustakalaya, which contains a collection of more than 10,000 accessible books.

mumbai Updated: Apr 14, 2018 23:40 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,visually impaired,accessibility
The online library developed by DFI, has 22 organisations uploading content, which is being worked on by civil societies, government organisations and industrial bodies.(HT File/Representational Image )

A forum consisting of 174 organisations from across the country was recently awarded the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) award at the London Book Fair for working for those, who are blind, have a slow vision and are print disabled.

The Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC), Fort, is also a part of DAISY Forum of India (DFI), which received the ABC international excellence award for accessible publishing.

Among their initiatives, which were recognised, is an online accessible library called Sugamya Pustakalaya, which contains a collection of more than 10,000 accessible books, including research material, texts and other books.

Jatin Jindal, a student who is currently preparing for his higher studies, said, a platform such as the online library, helped him clear his bachelors.

“It’s very difficult to find books available in Braille for higher studies. I wouldn’t have been able to complete my education, if I didn’t have access to the library. Even now as I prepare for UGC, I get some material on Sugamya,” said Jindal.

The online library developed by DFI, has 22 organisations uploading content, which is being worked on by civil societies, government organisations and industrial bodies.

“The award is a huge motivation and recognition for us to work for empowering those, who are print disabled. We hope it will end the book famine for the economically, geographically, socially and linguistically diverse group of people in India who are print disabled,” said Dipendra Manocha, President, DAISY Forum of India.

Giving context to the initiative, Sam Taraporevala, Director of XRCVC and Vice-President of DFI, said an online library would help reduce duplication.

“According to amended copyright act, a book can be recreated on non-profit basis for people with print disability. Thus, there are many such organisations across the country working to recreate content for them. Through Sugamya, a lot of money and manpower could be saved,” said Taraporevala.

Nicol Faasen, who was a part of the selection jury for ABC in an e-mail response, said, “The DAISY Forum of India is an impressive example of volunteerism and a wide-ranging network of not-for-profit organizations, working with government, to provide millions of print-impaired persons with equal access to information and knowledge in their own languages, without additional expense.”

First Published: Apr 14, 2018 23:40 IST