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Snehankit Helpline for the Visually Challenged Persons

We at A Journalist Reveals believe that charity begins at home. When a PR friend contacted us regarding the NGO she was handling, we decided to run the story, without thinking of any profits. Here is the article from her husband and the NGO is currently seeking donations for their current project. Please help them as much as you can.
By Rahul Kelapure
Snehankit Helpline established in the year 2001 is a registered trust under the Bombay Charitable Trust Act (1950). Its main objective is to provide a Varity of services to assist visually challenged students in their education and all round development. Though Snehankit commence its activities in Mumbai, over a period of time it has been receiving a number of requests for audio books, from individual students from other parts of Maharashtra and even from other states like Rajasthan.
Significant Highlights of Snehankit’s Contribution:
1. It has mobilised a team of 200 dedicated volunteers, who regularly assist blind students in reading, writing exams, recording books, preparing e-texts, etc.
2. Around 1000 visually impaired students have benefited so far through the multiple services offered by Snehankit.
3. It has so far recorded 3000 audio books comprising text books, notes, guides, reference material for competitive exams, professional courses, etc. approximately running into 25000 recorded hours in four languages based on request from individual students pursuing education in different boards and universities.
4. It has conducted 28 vision assessment camps for low vision persons which has covered about 200 beneficiaries and has provided low vision aids to about 110 beneficiaries.
5. It has been providing financial assistance to visually impaired students for a variety of purposes, such as tuition fees, hostel fees, medical treatment, purchase of text books, laptops, mobile phones, voice recorders, CD players (mainly for educational purpose), which has so far benefited 50 students involving an expenditure of about Rs. 5,00,000/-
6. It organizes lectures, interactive sessions, workshops, training programmes, etc. for visually impaired students on a variety of topics, such as communication skills, legal awareness, use of touch screen mobile phones, family life, education, basic and customised computer education etc.
Background and Rationale of the Proposed Project: Most Braille presses in India are predominantly engaged in producing only text books, that too maximum upto standard 12. At the same time, the Braille presses produce text books only prescribed by the respective state board of education. As a result of which visually impaired students wanting to pursue their education through I.C.S.C., C.B.S.C., etc. do not have excess to Braille text books. Likewise those pursuing higher education, professional courses, competitive exams, etc. have to compulsorily depend upon human assistance for reading, audio books or e-texts (if they are available at all).
There is no mechanism in place in Mumbai or for that matter anywhere else in the country to assist visually impaired students get access to non-textual educational books. Graphics have always been a neglected aspect and often completely omitted while transcribing text books in Braille. Consequently visually impaired children have virtually no exposure to geometrical figures, geographical maps and science diagrams in an accessible format. These subjects are given very little importance and taught quite poorly in schools for the blind and even by special teachers in many educational programmes. This project is aimed at addressing this significant gap in the education of visually impaired children.
Snehankit would like to conduct programms like, ebook making, recording books, computer education, employment, and recreation.

Snehankit Helpline
Snehankit Helpline

About Rahul Kelapure: Rahul Kelapure is a manager in the enforcement department of Securities and Exchange board of India (SEBI). With the aim of helping the people with vision impairment and print disability, Rahul in association Snehankit Helpline (An NGO that provide readers and scribes to the visually impaired students) is currently working on providing Marathi Optical Character Recognition service. Along with this Rahul has recently started training the visually impaired in using android phones effectively. With this service Rahul wants to help the visually impaired to achieve success in their education.

Contact: rkelapure@gmail.com

About Gayatri T Rao

A double post-graduate (MSc. - Botany and MA - English Literature) Gayatri T Rao is a Senior Freelance Journalist with vast experience in writing on varied topics.

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