We live in a society that values travelling and moving. We value being on time, moving quickly through busy city streets or rainy days, bustling sidewalks or peaceful hikes. Movement is important, as it not only provides exercise, but also gives us a change of pace in our lives (in more ways than one!).
Despite this, we live in a world that is not fully accessible.
For many specially-abled all around the globe it is difficult to traverse the varying terrain and obstacles that one faces on a day-to-day basis. Imagine your local park – what kind of terrain must one face there? You have concrete sidewalks and grassy pathways, woodchip playgrounds and gravel roads. They swerve and circle, incline and decline as to embrace the earth below. Imagine your nearby supermarket. See that front door? Does it open automatically or must one push to get inside? What about the interior? Are the floor tiles clean yet provide solid grip, or are they dirty, slippery, full of hazards, and the like? Are the shelves easily reached, or must one have to find a way to reach that jar without losing their balance?
Point is the world is a hazardous, inaccessible place. This would be somewhat alright if people were provided with the necessary devices for free or at a discount. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case. Even as newer, safer, and more dynamic devices made to aid specially-abled individuals reach the market, the prices only seem to get higher and higher, ironically making it difficult for such individuals to get them. Why should there be a price on living a healthy, happy life?
VOSAP believes in a more modern approach to accessibility, and as a tech leader in the disability sector, we are proud to introduce a program to register for assistive devices. Diversity in assistive technology and other similar products are of utmost importance, and we hope this program will help anyone and everyone get the devices they need.
Through the VOSAP website, interested individuals can input their full name and email to apply for assistive tech (https://www.voiceofsap.org/application-for-asst-device/). After verifying your email, you will be sent the full application to complete, and be evaluated and contacted further from there.
This program has a wide array of devices to choose from for hearing impaired, mobility impaired, visually impaired, learning disabled. A few devices I would like to highlight work to aid those with visual disabilities and impairments, one of the most common disabilities. For instance, this VOSAP program is able to provide individuals with Saarthi, a smart cane which utilizes sonar technology to detect obstacles typically out of reach of a traditional cane. This added technology gives visually impaired individuals peace of mind when it comes to moving around safely. Additionally, VOSAP provides subsidies for Kibo App, an app which takes any printed, handwritten, or digital content, translates it into the user’s language, and converts it all to audio. No longer will individuals need to worry about whether or not they can read a document as Kibo is able to do it all for you.
As of now, this program is open primarily to those living in India, Nepal, US and Canada based on a distribution network that is growing. As VOSAP gets more partnerships with service providers and manufacturers around the globe, we hope to expand our horizons (and the horizons of millions of others as well!) with the 1st time ever online system to obtain free or subsidized assistive devices. Additionally, we deeply care about your experience with the device, so we will keep in touch with you well after you’ve first received it! VOSAP will provide you with a questionnaire, first after 3 months with the device, then 6 months and finally after 1 year, to make sure that you are completely satisfied with your product. Now, go on and fit yourself with the newest, innovative, fully Indian-made assistive devices and technology for a brighter, more accessible future.
Visit the exhibition at events.voiceofsap.org