Dipendra Manocha

My top 3 facilitators

Assistive devices and personal assistance

Up until 1993, I passionately pursued my dream of becoming a musician and attained my M.Phil in Music from Delhi University. In the same year, I altered my course and undertook a Diploma course in Computer Applications from National Association for the Blind. In some ways I feel I was educated but not literate before that.

Computer with screen reading and writing software enabled me to read and write independently in mainstream script and communicate at par with my peers. I was completely dependent on personal assistant during my studies at Delhi University.

However, as the Assistive technology devices got better and as more and more information got available in accessible format, my dependence on personal assistance kept going down. I believe the role of assistive devices in my life has not only positively impacted my education and subsequently employment but has completely transformed the quality of my life from mobility to communication with family and friends.

Laws, Policies and Institutions

The exception that we were able to get in the Indian copyright law, enabled us to create Sugamaya Pustakalaya, India’s largest online library of accessible format books for persons with print disabilities powered by TCS Access Infinity.

Today the library provides free access to more than 17,000 titles and 700,000 books via Bookshare in multiple formats to persons with print disabilities. The platform has more than 32,000 registered users, over 55,000 downloads and enables persons with print disabilities to download and read books independently. With over 70% educational content, it has also helped users to prepare for competitive exams and higher studies like bachelors.

In addition, Government policy of providing assistive technology at a subsidy to persons with disabilities from economically weaker section has played a big role in sustainability of production of new assistive technology solutions and ensuring digital solutions reach those in remote areas.

Community organizations

I believe community organisations are extremely important platforms for bringing forth concerns of marginalized groups onto the national and international platforms. They helped in advocacy and ensuring that services and opportunities are not denied.

The exception in copyright law was one of the many examples of how community organisations came together to bring about this policy change.

Organizations also helped in resolving issues such as denial to open bank account with cheque-book facility and credit card facility, lack of alternative questions for persons with visual impairment for picture based questions in crucial examinations, etc.

My Journey

Championing Digital Revolution of Visually Impaired

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