Chennai: On a balmy evening, the campus of the Youth Hostel in Indira Nagar, Adyar comes alive, with students and several others sitting in small groups.
The students keenly listen, as the ‘readers’ recite from text books and pause, in between, to ask if they follow.
These sessions for visually-challenged college-goers, are conducted by Darshini- ‘Sight Through Sound,’ for their welfare and rehabilitation.
Those who ‘read’ out, are volunteers of the trust, who live in-and-around the neighbourhood, it is learnt.
According to Padma Narasimhan, founder-president of Adyar Exnora Women’s Guild and managing trustee of Darshini, says, ”There is a need for this initiative, as the society does not care for those who are unable to see. The ultimate aim to is make them stand on their own feet. Unlike other students with sight, they have to come a long way. There face many hurdles, as most of them come from rural areas.”
The trust which has been functioning from the year 2000, also invites people from different walks of life, to give lectures on useful subjects, like, How to get over anger or how to attend an interview.
One of the students, Viji (19), says, ”I come to the class and make sure I record what the reader is reading out. They take care of not just the academics. We have extra curricular activities too”.
Suresh, on the other hand, is here for a session, from Saidapet. He is pursuing his Masters and has been coming for years.
”I bring Tamil and English books. My English has improved a lot. I have received computer training too,” he states.
N Nagarajan from Velacheri, has been coming to the reading centre from 2006. He works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Presidency College.
”The readers here have even taken sessions for me at their homes and help me with paper work,” he says.