Inspiring The Visually Challenged

Mitra Jyothi, India

Shreya Mehta on July 11, 2018 in Education

Having a disability is a matter of grave concern in India. Unfortunately, around 15 million in India are visually challenged. Due to lack of facilities and resources, they have been always subjected to a confined life.

With the aim to rehabilitate and educate the visually challenged, an organization by the name Mitra Jyothi was established. Miss Madhu Singhal, the founder of Mitra Jyothi is herself visually impaired. But she never let them come in her way.

Being a very determined, motivated self-driven person, she fought against all odds to complete her education and completed her Master’s degree in Hindustani music. After that she came to Bengaluru in the 1980s with the motive to do something significant for the blind. With the encouragement received from her brother-in-law she began at a borrowed office space.

It was finally in 1990 that she was successfully able to establish the Mitra Jyothi trust, along with eight other dedicated individuals. With her passion and selfless service, Mitra Jyothi has reached great heights and is recognized worldwide for its services and programs.

She has also received various awards and honors for her outstanding contributions for the cause of the visually challenged. To name a few, she was conferred with the ‘National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities’ in 2008 by the Government of India, an honorary doctorate by the State Women’s University at Bijapur in 2015 and the ‘Sarojini-Trilok Nath Award’ by the National Association of Blind in 2016.

The Educational Resource Centre is one of the highlights of Mitra Jyothi. Since Braille books are generally found to be very heavy and inconvenient to carry along, it was decided to open a talking book library for all. Educational reading material on all subjects is made available in audio format for various languages here, from class one to post graduation.

Another center at Mitra Jyothi that all the visually challenged benefit from is the Computer Training Centre. Both basic and advanced courses are taught here. All operations are performed here with the help of a ‘screen reader’ that is installed in all computers that converts every word typed and clicked into human speech.

In the basics course they teach the fundamentals of using computers, Microsoft Office and Internet. In collaboration with various companies like Accenture and TCS, training is provided to all participants in the Advanced Group. Many students who have passed the courses taught here, have been placed and provided with jobs and opportunities at MNCs as well.

In order to encourage the visually challenged to live an independent life, Independent Living Skills (ILS) course is conducted for a period of 4-6 months at regular intervals at Mitra Jyothi complex. It is a residential program that teaches basic abilities like personal grooming, housekeeping and various other vocational skills like making mats, computer skills and cooking.

Basic awareness about reproduction, sex education, mobility training, home management skills, personal and personality development is also provided in ILS. Carrying out day-to-day activities like buying vegetables and groceries, taking an auto or local transport, using an ATM machine are all taught as part of the course.

There is a Braille Transcription Centre in Mitra Jyothi as well that enables all to convert any text in any language to Braille since 1999. The Center for Empowerment of Women With Disability at Mitra Jyothi has also been formed so as to empower as many women with disability in various companies and MNCs.

Ms. Madhu Singhal says, “With the right kind of opportunity, all of us have the potential to excel in life. Mitra Jyothi empowers the visually challenged by making them aware of their rights, giving the right environment and providing proper training programs”.

Almost 7000 visually impaired people have successfully graduated out of Mitra Jyothi till date. With the help of networking with other companies, many of them are placed at various factories, companies, small scale projects or MNCs.

Indeed, Mitra Jyothi has in the true sense touched the life of many and transformed them, giving them freedom to live life on their own terms.

To read more about the inspirational work they are doing, visit Mitra Jyothi today!

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