Move to impart employable skills to the visually impaired

Hyderabad: In a unique development, the University of Hyderabad (UoH), one of India’s most reputable institutions in higher education and Help The Blind Foundation (HTBF), a non-governmental organization that caters to the financial needs of visually impaired students who attend the university, entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Friday to provide technology-oriented employable skills to visually impaired students enrolled in various courses at the University.

The memorandum of understanding between UoH and HTBF is an expression of interest from a public institution and a private charity to come together to work on skills development and employability for one of the most vulnerable groups. The country’s most marginalized youth – visually impaired students who must struggle hard to reach even the minimum levels of college education and skill sets.

Speaking on the occasion, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor BJ Rao, remarked: “The paradox of modern society in the 21st century is that today the technology in our hands is ready to help us to be independent, but neither are we ready to help ourselves or technology to make us independent.” He remarked both as a warning and as an advice that it is time for organizations like HTBF to break the chain of an imbalance between technological advancement and human empathy. In line with the suggestion, HTBF Managing Director Shivaji Rao listed a series of activities that his organization has undertaken for the employability of young visually impaired people in different parts of the country.

With the MoU now in place, HTBF and UoH will soon launch a unique skills development training program, which is envisioned on four pillars: Education, Mobility, Employability and Training (EMET). ECDAP at UoH will be the nodal implementing agency for the training program. It is hoped that the existing infrastructure of assistive devices and software packages set up exclusively for visually impaired students on campus will form the backbone of the proposed EMET initiative.