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Taste their life,blindfolded

Imagine walking on the road,watching a movie,shopping or doing daily activities,blindfolded.

Written by Mihika Basu | Mumbai |
September 10, 2011 1:31:41 am

Imagine walking on the road,watching a movie,shopping or doing daily activities,blindfolded. This is what students and working professionals had to experience at a workshop,Antarchakshu or ‘the eye within’ organised by the Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC),St Xavier’s College.

The two-day event,which started on Friday,is aimed at sensitising people about the lives of the visually challenged. “The event focuses on the everyday aspects,under the light of visual constraints. The idea is to create awareness and showcase the daily intricacies of the lives of the visually challenged through experiential learning,” said Sam Taraporevala,XRCVC director.

From getting a taste of the difficulties faced while shopping on a wheelchair,over 500 participants had to experience challenges of walking on uneven,obstacle-ridden areas and carry out purchases blindfolded. “It was an eye-opener. I now know how some of my patients feel,” said Jugal Shah,an eye surgeon.

It helped participants re-think whether one needs sight to play games and enjoy themselves. For instance,one had to identify a football by listening to the sound of the ball bearings inside it and hit it towards the goal-post.

Another interesting exercise was to ‘watch’ a movie. “In many countries,when the DVD of a movie is released,it’s compulsory to have audio descriptions of silent scenes or emotions between dialogues. It should also be made compulsory in India,” said Mahtab Irani,a student coordinator.

“We have created the concept of a movie theatre where people have to climb a staircase,find their way to a seat and understand a movie with audio descriptions. The idea was to sensitise the sighted towards problems faced by visually challenged even when it comes to recreation,” she said.

Another focus area were ATM machines and partial implementation of RBI guidelines. “Voice output and braille labels only make an ATM a talking one and not an accessible one. An accessible ATM allows complete transaction process to be independently carried by the visually challenged where the audio prompts provides complete directional guidance for a customer to be oriented towards it and use it. Participants get an experience of both types. The exhibition also focused on railway concessions for visually challenged,rail transportation and writers for blind students.

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