Scholarship for higher education and employability training for persons with disabilities
India is now home to the world’s largest number of blind people. Of the 39 million blind people across the globe, over 12 million are from India. Many visually impaired students come from impoverished backgrounds. Parents of visually impaired children mostly send them to residential special schools for the blind available across India. This is not the case when it comes to graduate education. Visually impaired students are constrained to study in an integrated system with their sighted peers.
Technology, and the expanding digital world, has made it possible for persons with visual impairment to cross the boundaries of confinement and enter the mainstream. Access to assistive technology-enabled devices and the internet makes it possible for blind people to function independently and avail various services on their own. It also opens up higher education and employment opportunities for them. With voice-activated smartphones, screen reader-compatible computers, audiobooks, etc., blind people find themselves capable of coping with sighted peers.
Visually impaired students need support to adapt to the college atmosphere, having come out of the protective environment of home/speciality school. They are also in need of training on job oriented skills to make them employable. Successful navigation of the new college environment, integrating with their sighted peers, obtaining a degree and landing a job gives them the confidence that they can deal with the day to day challenges of life.
The programme is supporting over 690 visually impaired scholars from reputed institutions across the country.
To strengthen the number of graduates and career prospects amongst the visual impaired, Cognizant Foundation partnered with the Help the Blind Foundation (HTBF), Chennai in 2018 and instituted a scholarship programme with the EMET training (Education Mobility and Employability Training) as an add-on course. The programme is helping visually impaired scholars from reputed institutions across India hone their skills in communication, digital literacy, and interpersonal relationship, providing them with holistic personality development. Imparting the curriculum designed and developed by Enable India, the training goal is to empower the visually impaired students to complete their education and motivate them to take up well paid productive jobs.
“I like to experiment and learn new things. My hobbies are chess, debate and internet browsing. I would like to express my thanks to HTBF, Cognizant Foundation and all my teachers in HTBF. They are teaching me English and Computer skills. They are very supportive of my desire to learn new things.”
- Praveen Patidar, Visually impaired scholar Atal Bihari Vajpayee College, Indore