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Ep 3: Acknowledging Ability

Vision is regarded as one of the five basic senses. Being able to see gives us tremendous access to the world around us – be it in terms of people’s expressions, our immediate environment, approaching hazards etc.

Given the right resources, visually challenged individuals are just as adept as sighted people in terms of learning & negotiating their surroundings. However, they are often left behind because of the general public’s preconceived notions and prejudices. In the current episode of the podcast, we have the pleasure of interacting with Dr. Sam Taraporevala and Mr. Krishna Warrier who will help us bust some of the myths surrounding people with low vision and visual impairment.

Both Dr. Taraporevala & Mr. Warrier work for Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC). The organization started off as an effort to offer an inclusive environment at St. Xavier’s College (Mumbai) in 2003 and has grown into a national-level advocacy and support centre today for blind and low-vision people. While the organization has a host of initiatives in many different domains, the current episode predominantly focuses on its sensitization and inclusion related initiatives.

Dr. Sam Taraporevala retired as Associate Professor & Head Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the autonomous St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. A visually challenged person himself, he had founded the XRCVC in 2003 and is its Executive Director today. He has been actively involved in advocacy and awareness work in the field of social inclusion using applied research to address key access challenges for persons with blindness and low vision & has been at the forefront of work resulting in the amendment of the Copyright Act, India in 2012; the deployment of over 30,000 accessible ATMs in India; and the opening up of science education for blind and low vision students.

Mr. Krishna Warrier has over 30 years’ experience in Journalism and Communications Skills. After his career in journalism, he started working in the area of disability awareness. He has held senior editorial positions in Reader’s Digest, Hindustan Times, Mid-day, and Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) and trained students in various facets of communication at institutions like the IITB-Monash Research Academy (IIT Bombay), St. Xavier’s College, Sophia College, KC College, Wilson College, the Xavier’s Institute of Communications etc.

Additionally, he has held training and sensitization workshops all over India for corporates like IBM, Hindustan Unilever, BNY Mellon, Sanofi, Deloitte etc.

“Clearing The Haze –Making The Invisible Visible” is a series of podcasts on gender, equality,
inclusion and related issues produced by Shachi Irde on the occasion of the Generation Equality
Forum and supported by the Embassy of France in India, the French Institute in India and the
network of Alliances Françaises in India.

Directed by: Shachi Irde | Technical support by Hemant Soreng

Proposed by: Alliance Française de Bombay

Podcast Summary: Acknowledging Ability

Host: Shachi Irde

00:00: Introduction

01:57: What should one keep in mind while developing products to ensure it is accessible to all?

04:42: Tell us about the program  Antarchakshu.

08:30: How do you sensitize parents on inclusion?

10:50: What are some of the most common challenges people with visual impairment face in their day-to-day life?

14:04: What advice would you give caretakers and family members helping their loved ones to this reality?

18:36: What are some of the reasons guide dogs are not used?

21:03: Can you share examples of products that are well designed keeping in mind the accessibility needs of all?

25:15: What role do corporates play?

26:50: Your advice to our listeners to being inclusive.

27:51: Conclusion. Outro.