Little but significant steps are being taken towards enabling the disabled and sensitising the others — Delhi University’s Miranda House is setting an example of being a college that’s using digital technology to make its campus disabled-friendly.
Lakshita, the enabling committee of the college, has launched a phone application that helps the blind navigate the premises. When anyone with the app on their smartphone comes within three feet of any of the 100 QR codes installed across the college, they get directions.
Sushma, a BA Hindi (Hons) student, who is visually impaired, explains, “If I’m passing by the canteen, my phone will tell me how many steps to take in which direction.”
HT got a few students to check how well the app functions, and found that it’s prompt and easy to use. “Baar baar logon se poochna accha nahi lagta, conscious bhi feel hota hai. But iss app ki wajah se confidence aata hai (We would feel conscious asking directions from other students every now and then. This app gives us confidence),” adds Sushma. Another blind student, Shanti Chaurasia, agrees that the app has simplified navigation, “App bhi simple hai, aur voice message clear,” she says.
Principal Pratibha Jolly adds with pride, “Technology is something that almost every student understands, and at the same time, is easy to use. These QR codes make the students wonder what they are and what do they do, thus creating awareness and sensitising the students.”
Saumya Bansal, who is in the final year at Miranda House, shares that she has seen many students in the college use the app. “It works well and adds a different dimension of help, making them self-reliant,” she says.
Besides the ‘digital vision sign boards’, the college has installed a Braille notice board, converted recommended textbooks into Braille (a tactile writing system used by the visually impaired), and released Braille editions of the college magazine. Miranda House also has several ramps, aiding movement of the disabled, and now, plans are underway to instal elevators.