Chronicle of Sahana


Origin:


It was the time of new Millennium. People were in very much delight to welcome the new Millennium. Some of them were greeting their friends, relatives and neighbours to have peace, prosperous and joyful start. Some others were doing prayers. Among them five courageous persons (Narashimmaiah, Varadharaj, Vijaysharma, Janarthanan and Chidambaram) were also there. They wanted to celebrate it in a special way. An idea rose up within them – To amuse students (including vis. challenged people) and kids with competitions.


As planned, everything went fine. These 5 guys didn’t stop with that day. They thought to do that regular but they didn’t get any idea. Somehow managed and did the activity by choosing places randomly. They found responses were excessive.


They didn’t stop with this. They started by making Braille books such that it become ease for the visually challenged people to take up the subjects. They encouraged the students to do well in their subjects by using the Braille books extensively. They have formally started a organization called “Sahana Charitable trust” for visually challenged people.



Do you know how difficult it is to make a Braille book?


One normal text book page will take three to four Braille pages then you can think of converting a whole book. For this conversion also you need one reader who can read the whole book for you. The visually challenged student needs to use the equipment to make the book. Its really painful to plug all day.




These people approached GMR Foundation and got 36k from them. By means of that they started a conversion unit in April 2001 with 2 Brailler’s, Braillists and also some papers and accessories for the conversion unit. For Braillists they paid 800 INR.


Brailler is a typewriter kind of machine which can be used to type the Braille texts in the paper. Braillists are like typists, who can type in that brailler machines. The cost of the brailler comes around 9000 INR. They are getting these machines from Chennai.


Aids:


Few days after, they started getting requests from deprived students to change ordinary books in to Braille books. Conversion done successfully. After some time some more students started approaching this organisation. Initially they have only 1 Brailler and Braillists. After sometime they have started recruiting some Braillists in order to fulfill the requests.


At present they are having four Braillists and they are paying 1800 INR each. Still they feel this is not sufficient to fulfill all their requirements, in need of three more Braillists and Brailler’s for this conversion unit.


During 2003 they got requests from 5 students and it became doubled in 2004. At present they are getting more than 50 requests to change ordinary books in to Braille books. Apart from students they are getting requests from public too.


Sometimes they are getting requests for making two or three copies of the same book. In such case the Braillists will be typing the same book multiple times. If they get some Maths / Physics / Chemistry book with lots formulae in it, then the conversion process for these kinds of books will be bit complicated in terms of typing as well as to read out. To handle these kinds of requests they use an Embosser, it’s like a printer.


Embosser:


We can give request through the computer which will make many copies of the same books. This visually challenged people can also access this device. This will reduce the conversion time of more than 50%. All we need to do is upload the content from the normal books into a word document / Text file. This machine costs 4, 00,000 INR.


They got grant from JSW organization to buy this device. Computer should be connected to the device (Embosser) to perform this conversion. HP contributed a system to them.


How can we make use?


If anyone wants to convert the books, they have to go straight to office and register with them (for an optional fee). If they are not using the books they should return the books so that some other can make use of that.



Vision:


Planned to start general library for ordinary people.


They have some books with them at present. Provisions are available in the library to sit and read the books. They can also take the books with them to home and should return back within 30 days.


Other Accomplishments:


Last year they have distributed more than 500 Braille calendars and this is the 4th year of their service. They started with 150 calendars which now reached to 550 and above.


Upcoming activities and needs:


On Jan 20, 2008 they are going to celebrate Braille day in Bangalore. Planned to conduct lots of events for the visually and physically challenged students. They accept donation in any form [chart papers for making Braille books/Money/Office accessories]. Please contact Sahana (080-23116699) or contact me (Thiru Kumaran - 9900519384) for more information.


Requirements:


At Present they are in need of computers for JAWS software training which will help the visually challenged people to get job in government organizations. They are expecting donors for this too.


Introduction about the Founders:


  • Narashimmaiah, Varadharaj, Janarthanan, Vijaysharma and Chidambaram were the people involved in starting this org.


  • Vijaysharma and Chidambaram left this org now.


  • Latter Lakshmi and Gururajan joined with them [Lakshmi is working in Central bank of India]


  • Mr.Padhmanaba Rao is taking care of their finance related issues.


They don’t have enough funds or regular donors.


Sahana now hopes to employ 12 full time Braillists in a suitable spacious office. This not only enables to increase their capacity to turn out books in Braille but also offers employment to 12 visually challenged individuals.



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