About 314 million people are visually impaired worldwide. 45 million of them are blind. About 87% of the world’s visually impaired live in developing countries. 1 out of every 3 blind people in the world - an estimated 15 million blind people, live in India.
There are 2 million blind children in India. Only 5% of them receive any education. Students with visual impairment miss out many opportunities due to low self-esteem, low self-confidence and inaccessible environments.
Many students are completely unaware of the outside world and lack proper education as teachers, aren’t able to teach them with clarity. There is a significant lack of special educators in school, outdated content and no access to digital literacy. This results in high rates of illiteracy and unemployment.
Youth4Jobs began its school intervention program as a backward integration to improve the quality of youth with disabilities who enrol into Y4J’s skilling centres. Youth4Jobs began its School program by choosing the most vulnerable: girls with visual impairment from poor rural families studying in a government school.
In the Classroom, girls are trained both theoretically & practically in Basic English and Basic Computers. All the computers have NVDA and JAWS screen readers installed, that allow the students to use computers effectively. The students are also taught to use Mobile Phones with the in-built accessibility features. Exposure to computers and other assistive technologies helps them become independent and assures them access towards higher education and jobs. Society also looks at them more as empowered rather than helpless.
During our work we realised that just digital literacy is not enough. So, we worked on a wholistic model of transformation.
We drew up a list of activities which are unthinkable for the blind: Painting, Clay Workshop, Nature Walk, Working with Textile Blocks and so on. This gave our girls a sense of wonderment and joy.
These are the experiences which even their non-disabled brothers and sisters have not gone through. So, it gave them a sense of one-upmanship and most importantly ‘I can do anything” attitude.
The following outcomes are expected from the overall project :