Reetu Mansi, a 35-year-old teacher, has been visually impaired since birth. However, her disability didn't stop her from supporting other people like her to crack competitive exams and get respectable jobs.
Mansi has been creating disabled-friendly content to assist the visually impaired pass their entrance tests. She believes that there is no shortage of online resources to prepare for competitive exams like UPSC, teacher eligibility tests, and other exams.
However, the biggest challenge is the accessibility of material for people with no eyesight. She also said that most of the materials available in the market or online are in the English language, which becomes inaccessible for students living in rural areas of the country. "Most of the students living in rural areas of India still do not understand English," she told News18.
A resident of Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow, she started working with NGOs in 2019. Despite being visually impaired, Mansi is well-qualified. She completed her graduation from Delhi University's Lady Sri Ram College. She also holds a Masters in Education degree.
Hamari Vaani Initiative
Taking help from one of the NGOs, Mansi records Hindi audio study material for students to prepare for the exams. The initiative called Namma Vaani in Kannada and Hamari Vaani in Hindi is run by Bengaluru-based NGO Enable India that facilitates the opportunities, sharing of stories and ideas for specially-abled people in rural parts of the country.
To ease the massive burden for thousands of applicants, the 35-year-old first finds the English study material, then translates it to Hindi, writes it in Braille, and finally records the audio files. "I have been working with the NGO for many years. Through their online platform, we are planning to reach as many differently-abled students across the country," Mansi said.
Over 1000 Students Benefitted
Through this initiative, she claims that over 1000 students have been benefitted. Students can access the audios through their mobile phones. Apart from this initiative, the hardworking teacher works with Divine Ligh NGO, which also helps the weaker and marginalised sections of society in the country.
Talking about her inspiration to reach out to differently-abled people, she said, "I feel delighted when I receive a phone call from some unknown person, who tells me that they have passed their exams or have got a new job with the help of my study material. This is something that keeps me motivated."
Besides working as a teacher at Navodaya Vidyalaya, Saharanpur, Mansi is also is a counsellor to many people.
"There are occasions when most of these people feel very downhearted. They probably do not have the resources to reach out to people. I attempt to help them and also record life-skills," she told the channel.
Efforts To Help Differently-Abled People
Mansi believes helping such people comes naturally to her as she has grown up in the same environment. Her mother had also started a school for visually impaired chldren.
"While growing up, I saw them helping others in their studies and even bearing the entire cost of living. I feel I am just continuing their efforts to help other people," she said.
As she grew older, Mansi claims, she had fewer challenges than other people like her who had to go through the worst. She aims to help many of such people in her entire life.
"The sensitisation of the society about the challenges of specially-abled people will take a longer time. But, I think if I can help some job aspirants get a good livelihood source and reach good positions, they will eventually create a favourable environment for others. Thus, more jobs will be generated automatically," she said.
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