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Youth light up lives, one book at a time

by Radha Rao last modified Apr 02, 2011 02:42 PM
Chennaiites join a campaign to aid the visually challenged in accessing popular works of English literature THERE ARE MILLIONS OF BOOKS THAT THE VISUALLY CHALLENGED CAN'T ACCESS - an article in the Deccan Chronicle - Chennai, dated 10th Oct 2009.

Activists and students in the city have come together for a noble cause -- to ensure that the visually disabled can exercise their constitutional right to a dignified life. Since printed material is not accessible to those with visual disability and also since the copyright laws do not allow for books to be converted into Braille or audio format to enable the blind to `read', several organisations have come together to start the `Right to Read' campaign.R2R - 6

The campaign saw its India launch in Chennai recently, and their cause, supported by many, is simple -- to bring about amendments in the copyright laws of the country so that blind people can have access to reading material.
The organisations involved in the campaign are: the Centre for Internet and Society, DAISY Forum of India, Bookbole.com, Ability Foundation and the Loyola College in Chennai.

Students of Loyola kickstarted the campaign in the city by bringing down experts from various parts of the country and organising road shows, panel discussions and signature campaigns. Says S. Naresh, the vice president of the Students' Union of the college, "We realised that there was a need to create awareness about issues like disability and the problems faced by the blind.

And since there are many visually impaired students in our college campus itself, we decided to do something proactive at the earliest." Janaki Pillai, director, operations, of Ability foundation, an NGO which works with people with disabilities, explains, "There are millions of books available in the world but people with visu al disability do not have access to them. The copy right laws in our country do not let us reproduce books in a format that is accessible to the visually , challenged, and that makes it illegal for students to even convert a textbook into a format that can be used by the disabled. We're campaigning for this to change, and we hope that we will be able to con vince the govern ment to see our point of view." Nirmita Narasimhan, a programme manager with the Centre for Internet and Society, says, "We should be allowed to convert the books into a format which is convenient for us with out stringent copyright laws coming in our way."

Link to the article in Deccan Chronicle - Chennai (Page 24)

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