Vishal P.S.Palve , from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, has completed B.Sc in Physics from Ferguson College and is currently a First Year M.Sc Physics Student of Pune University.
Vishal has been running a website vargshikshak.com , which he had started soon after finishing his 12th Standard, mainly to provide Free Science Notes.
One of the modules Saathi – Saathi Enabling Centre, as a unit of SOEC is aimed at creating a friendly atmosphere for the Differently Abled students. SAATHI helps Differently Abled students in their studies, Scribes, Academics, and in personality development.
Another Module – SOEC-Fergusson – The Social Outreach and Enabling Centre (SOEC) is an initiative that aims to provide the students of Fergusson College with an opportunity to engage in meaningful volunteer work. The aim is to give back to society in as many ways as possible and learn in the process. More than 150 volunteers join hands every year and work in the areas of children’s education, environment, enablement of the disabled, women’s empowerment, etc. The Social Outreach and Enabling Centre firmly believes that it is the collective responsibility to empower the underprivileged to become self reliant so that they can live with respect and dignity.
When the lockdown was announced, Vishal and his colleagues immediately got down to work on another interesting module. They wanted to help the Visually Challenged students to continue their online education. Vishal named this initiative as “ Let’s Record “ With the online presence and volunteers in place already, this initiative took off the same day the lockdown was announced.
This module was designed to help the Differently abled students across India to access Audio Books related to their syllabus and their interests.
Volunteers in Saathi , earlier were used to reading study materials or recording portions to the Visually challenged. Let’s Record wanted to continue this trend seamlessly without any break due to the lockdown.
Initially, it was only the student volunteers who started recording and uploading the audio books. But soon in a couple of weeks, there was an interest from different persons including Professors who started joining this movement.
The platform started off with e-books on topics related to science, literature and Competitive Examination material. But, now has many reference books and other interesting topics apart from just curriculum.
Vishal Palve sends in details about the Site and the Project –
About Let’s Record
1. What Is Let’s Record?
Let’s Record is an open Volunteering Platform, which helps the Visually challenged students by providing the essential (Educational) Audio Books.
2. Why Let’s Record was started ?
The reason behind starting such an initiative is to “overcome the biggest problem that blind students face in education.” That is Un-Availability of Educational Audio Books and Scribe.
3. What we did in Pandemic?
We recorded 300+ Essential Text / Books for Visually Challenged Student with the help of our Volunteers.
Today 400+ Students / people are involved in the Let’s Record as volunteers, including Professionals working in different Sectors from various Part of the Country like Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Bihar, Mumbai, Punjab , Jammu & Kashmir and Maharashtra. It is noteworthy that few volunteers from Countries like America and Sri Lanka are also contributing.
Interestingly some of the volunteers were saying that this reading and recording for a Social Cause, has helped them through the lockdown period. For some it was helping them through the boredom, and for some reading became a habit.
4. Why I started and Running Let’s Record?
The reason behind it is, I have been working for blind and disabled students for a few years (as a volunteer and co-ordinator of SAATHI NGO of Fergusson College)
I have seen the grief of blind students crying when they do not get the audio book at the right time. I did not want them to suffer more – because of no personal contacts during the pandemic.
I knew this would be a big task and was sure there would be many problems to overcome. But this project has been running well with more demands and requests coming from many blind students studying at Mumbai University, Kolkata, JNU, Jamia Malia and Delhi University, Tamil Nadu, TISS , Punjab University , Pune University for the need for audio books of their books.
5. What I aim for?
The saddest and most annoying situation came about 7 months back, when a female (blind) student at the University of Mumbai told me she needed an XI State Board audio book. I mailed to NCERT, Balbharati, I got no reply from them, and after 2 months of no response, I sent the Required Audio books.
From that experience, for the last 6 months, I am sending this project to Maharashtra and Central Government. But I have got no response from anywhere since I am only a Student, no one wants to hear me.
I also Filed the Petition to raise this issue and I Received 18,000+ Signatures http://chng.it/BfFsPpL6
(Diana Chao, Founder of Letters to Strangers send me Support through Video Message From America but sadly I did not receive a single reply from our own Government Authorities)
Vishal says – “Vargshikshak and Let’s Record are designed as a completely non-profit platform, and will need to run with support from Govt and CSR foundations. Many persons pointed out to me that my own money would be needed to make this function at a bigger scale. My Dad is a farmer and is doing farming with loans. I have completed my entire education on a scholarship, where can I get money to build such mobile application! ? This has not worried me , and I am confident that this Site and Application will be a success and I will be able to serve more Blind Students. My request is that the readers read and share the information so that it reaches to as many as possible.
Readers are requested to read the petition on Change.Org ‘ Make Single Platform for Blind Students to Access Educational Audiobooks ‘.
You can sign the petition here – http://chng.it/BfFsPpL6
Get to know more about vargshikshak.com
You can follow Vishal on