Hichki will now reach out to the visually and low vision impaired audiences across India. Through an association with a non-profit organization, Saksham, Hichki will be screened with special audio mastering.
The app, launched in July by the software firm Brajma Intelligent Systems, uses audio descriptions provided by Saksham, an NGO working to empower people in India who are blind or visually impaired. Saksham produced the description in the office and studio of the film’s director, Rajkumar Hirani, a major figure in Indian cinema.
The new application is developed by DAISY Consortium, which is a network of NGOs from 55 countries, as a part of Standard Chartered Bank’s CSR initiative. It connects online libraries such as the ‘Sugamya Pustakalaya and allows conversion of print format books into audio. Once downloaded on a smartphone, the app can also convert these print formats into Braille and project them on electronic screens, which is known as ‘Paperless Braille.’ This can be used by the visually-impaired individuals, as it is available in digital form.
In a healing touch to the visually challenged students, the Deputy Commissioner Jalandhar Varinder Kumar Sharma today announced to encourage the private schools in district for giving admissions to these students in regular classes for imparting mainstream education to them by using ultra-modern software. Addressing the gathering during a function organized by NGO Saksham for screening special audio described movie for visually challenged persons at local Sri Devi Talab Temple, the Deputy Commissioner said that in the ensuing admission session the schools would be motivated to enroll such students, so as to help them in attaining mainstream education.
Excitement knew no bounds for a visually impaired couple, Dr Prem Sagar and his wife Deepika Sood, as they watched ‘Sanju’, a Bollywoood movie, in a theatre on Saturday and could for the first time enjoy a movie with real-time audio descriptions of the silent or action part of the film.
Rige Shiba, education officer at the National Museum, takes you around the sculptures, ancient weaponry, coins and printed replicas of paintings displayed at the gallery. Here, Braille and audio description is used to convey the basic details of the artworks. Shiba says, “The current exhibition, India and the World, which features Braille and audio descriptions alongside a few of the exhibits, will become a part of the Anubhav gallery. We started with UNESCO and the NGO Saksham on this project. A few of the objects were chosen by visually-impaired people themselves.”
In the 48th year of IFFI which also has a section on ‘Accessible India’ under which two films ‘Secret Superstar’ and ‘Hindi Medium’ are being screened for the Visual and hearing impaired. Saksham has added audio description and subtitles in these movies to make movies accessible to all including people who cannot see or hear.
A workshop on making cinema an enjoyable experience for the differently abled was organised at Siri Fort recently. Officials from the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), UNESCO and the NGO Saksham participated in the event.
Mrinal Kanta Saxena, Surabhi Kundra and Bipasha Sengupta are your everyday people, who come from diverse backgrounds, but have now dedicated their time and life to teach children who face more fierce challenges than your average Joe in Saksham Resource Center.
The audio description of the film is production of Saksham, an NGO that has been working for the visually impaired since 14 years. The NGO will also be working on the audio description of Hindi Medium, Airlift, and Raag Desh and have already completed it for more than 40 movies including PK and Black. "It took us over two months to do the audio description of ‘Dangal’. What people don’t realize is that entertainment is as important for a differently-abled person as it is for us," Rummi Seth, founder and managing trustee of Saksham.
Deepika Sood is running an NGO Saksham for visually-impaired and is working with zeal to spread awareness about the disability. She is the general secretary of Saksham Punjab. She started the NGO in 2011.Presently around 400 blind students are associated with the NGO.
Aamir Khan’s Dangal has managed to set yet another milestone. A special audio track has been dubbed for the film in order to reach out to its differently-abled audiences on television. An NGO named Saksham has created the audio for the visually-impaired. They have also made audio descriptions for films like PK and Black.
The report quotes the founder of the NGO, Rummi Sethi as saying, "It took us over two months to do the audio description of 'Dangal'. What people don't realise is that entertainment is as important for a differently-abled person as it is for us."
“The idea is to make an inclusive space for the visually-impaired,” says Rummi Seth of Saksham, an NGO that has hosted several film screenings for the blind at several venues in Delhi. “It was always on my mind to do something of this nature, so we decided to set up a team that could help us with achieving our goal. I contacted television and theatre personality Sushma Seth, who quite happily agreed to do voice-overs for us. Then I reached out to Narendra Joshi, a well-known radio personality, who came on board with us to do the scripts. That’s how we have created cinema which could also be enjoyed by the visually-impaired.”
With 15 million visually-challenged people, India is home to the world’s largest blind population. Delhi’s Saksham Trust has been doing a sterling job in making cinema accessible to them.
There are 62 million blind and low-vision people in India, according to a WHO study in 2010, and even more blind South Asians, many of whom passionately watch Bollywood and Indian movies, so it's smart business as well. Saksham, an NGO working with the blind, has audio described DVDs of 22 films, including Taare Zameen Par, PK, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Black.
“Museums have come a long way to accommodate the disabled. Wheelchair access has improved and many museums offer tours in sign language for the deaf. But what about the visually impaired who can’t experience art because even touching artworks is strictly prohibited at museums? This gallery might offer an answer,” said a spokesperson for the NGO Saksham, which works with the visually impaire.
Created as a student project at IIT Delhi by Rohan, his IIT teachers, NGO Saksham and industry partner Phoenix Medical Devices, Chennai, SmartCane was launched last year. It hopes to reach over a million people worldwide
In a move to aid visually impaired people, Indian e-retailer Snapdeal has launched SmartCane—electronic travel aid that ensures independent mobility and safety of the visually impaired—in collaboration with IIT-Delhi and Phoenix Medical Solutions.The donated products will be shipped directly to NGO partner Saksham that works for empowering persons with blindness. Online platform—The Better India is supporting the cause as an outreach partner.
Access Braille partners with the DAISY Forum of India and Saksham Trust, both based in Delhi, and with several NGOs around India to digitize books and provide them in “DAISY” (Digitally Accessible Information System” format. Last year Access Braille volunteers helped digitize NIOS books (National Institute of Open Schooling) in India.
Take for instance the work that is being done to launch a "SmartCane" device. The cane is a joint project being worked upon by the Saksham Trust and IIT Delhi, and it is slated to be launched in March. According to the spokesperson for Saksham, the cane will ensure independent mobility, help detect hazards such as obstacles raised above knee height, and allow the user to find his or her path easily and reduce awkwardness and injury. "In addition it has an ergonomic grip and the detection distance has been increased from the old 0.5 metres to three metres now," says Supriya Das, who is associated with the Saksham Trust.