There are 2.5 lakhs visually challenged people in this country among which a large number of sight impaired students are now studying at various educational institutions. It’s very difficult for them to have access to information and attain advanced education since there are no suitable study materials for them in Bangladesh besides braille books.
However, the contribution of the braille books is incomparable but students depending completely on braille might face pronunciation problems as well. Moreover, it is very important to present the study materials to students in an attractive way that will not make learning monotonous and with visually impaired children the task gets more difficult.
Service Innovation Fund of Access to Information (A2I) Programme has facilitated a project by Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) named ‘Multimedia Talking Book’ specially designed for visually impaired students. Any students with access to computers, tablets or android mobiles can use these books for acquiring knowledge. Visually challenged students can learn their lessons listening to it. Previously, it was difficult to provide the braille books at the beginning of the year but now National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) partnered with a2i ensuring the revised multimedia talking books and braille books along with other textbooks within 1st January every year in the hands of visually challenged children. The partnership with NCTB and Department of Social Services in the Ministry of Social Welfare have enriched the initiative and taking Bangladesh one step ahead in attaining the sustainable development goal-4 which focuses on inclusive and equitable quality education for all. At the moment, Multimedia Talking Books can also be used in the regular schools to ensure inclusive education and can be developed into interactive e-book as well.
Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) has won several national and international recognition for developing DAISY standard Multimedia Talking Book. In 2013, it received Manthan Award South Asia in E-Inclusion category.In the same year it was awarded the ‘Youth Solutions! Technology for Skills and Employment’ honor by World Bank and Microsoft Sri Lanka. It went on achieving Accessible Books Consortium Award for Accessible Publishing Initiative at the International Excellence Award 2015 held in London Book Fair (LBF).