Samarthanam, as an NGO has a large number of goals to achieve. But one of their primary goals is education- educating the youth who are disabled. They do not want to only educate them till class 10 or 12 but encourage students to take up higher education as well. A large number of students are visually impaired and have print disabilities as well. Even though Braille books are available, they are limited in number and are not available beyond high school level. The need of the hour was now to make books used at the higher level readily accessible to these students. So, in 2008, Samarthanam started its first Digital Library.
The Digital Library’s main goal is to ensure that all types of books, right from school books to newspapers, magazines etc. in different languages are made accessible to students. The entire process of generating the audiobook, right from recording, scanning, typing, and editing are done at Samarthanam itself so that there is no compromise in quality. These audiobooks are provided free of cost to these students.
Samarthanam is an active member of Daisy Foundation of India (DFI), which creates audiobooks and other reading materials to those with print disabilities. DFI has tied up with SugamaPustakalaya, which is India’s largest collection of accessible books. Over 3.5 lakh books are available for download here.
This is truly a noble initiative which has been undertaken by Samarthanam. Just because a person is blind or has print disabilities does not mean that they can be denied the opportunity to education. By educating more and more people, Samarthanam Trust is doing its part to ensure that the nation progresses as a whole. The fact that Samarthanam has realized that education is the driving force of this nation and are working tirelessly towards it is truly inspiring.
Their own digital library is quite vast, with over 5000 books in English, Hindi, and Kannada. These include school books, general knowledge, magazines, novels among many others. Till date, they have established six digital libraries all over the nation in five different cities.
This initiative has been hugely beneficial to students and it enables them to reach an equal footing and ensure that their disability does not hamper their education.