Dependence on others for reading and writing is one of the biggest hurdles in way of education, employment and leading an independent life, especially in case of people living with visual disabilities and low vision. To empower the persons with visual disabilities, the DAISY Consortium (a network of not for profit organizations from 55 countries) has developed the “Simply Reading” app as part of Standard Chartered Bank’s global Seeing is Believing initiative to tackle avoidable (preventable or treatable) blindness. The App is based on the cost-effective and flexible Android platform which aims to unlock digital reading for people who struggle with existing, more complex touchscreen solutions. It is the only Android application in India for reading books which connects to online accessible libraries and allows books to be read on connected Braille display and in all major Indian languages.
Available for free on Android (Google Play), this app enables the visually impaired to directly download and read books from any online platform such as Sugamya Pustakalya and Bookshare.
The app was launched during the Simply Reading Without Seeing Seminar held on 2 May at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi by Shri Jagmohan, former governor of Jammu and Kashmir and former LG of Delhi. On the occasion of the launch, Mr. Jagmohan released an accessible copy of his book “My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir” on Sugamya Pustakalaya and readable on the Simply Reading app.
Saksham along with its partner organizations has been involved in several projects to provide a holistic affordable reading and writing solution for in Indian languages. Outcomes of these projects such as the Indo-NVDA screen reading software, DAISY players in all Indian languages, affordable Braille displays, and the dictation software were also demonstrated.
The organization is working wholeheartedly to introduce more such applications and devices so that persons with visual impairment could contribute their part in the country’s growth story.