Mitra Jyothi is a Bangalore based NGO. Since 1990, they have been working relentlessly towards integrating people with disabilities into the mainstream society. Among several of their initiatives is providing training and support to the visually challenged and they have been doing a commendable job of it. We at Prakat are proud to have collaborated with them on multiple occasions. One such occasion came to us when we were requested to conduct a Workshop on Software
and Accessibility Testing for their current batch of students.
Hari Reddy, a veteran technologist and Delivery Head at Prakat and Deepa Kumar, Consultant with Prakat’s
marketing team, went over to Mitra Jyothi to conduct the workshop. Sharing their experiences:
“The one thing I always learn from my interactions at Mitra Jyothi is to keep things simple.”
When I was told about this workshop, I was very happy. I love going to Mitra Jyothi because I get a lot of positive energy when I interact with the students there. They are so full of energy and dreams.
As always, when we entered the gates, it was very peaceful, in sharp contrast to the experience through our commute. We were introduced to the class of 10 students coming from various parts of the country. On the first day, they didn’t know what was coming their way. One of the students candidly remarked later on that the first hour was boring because they didn’t understand much, but soon they were able to catch up and the workshop really helped them understand some potential career options.
Even as they introduced themselves, one could see their energy and positivity- I think this is what draws me to Mitra Jyothi. We introduced students to concepts of Software Development Lifecycle, which must have been challenging to some at first. But we made it our mission to ensure that they understood the core concepts, so that they could reflect and pursue it later if they wanted to.
The one thing I always learn from my interactions at Mitra Jyothi is to keep things simple. We used the example of getting a cup of ginger tea, from requirements to development to testing and finally production. In this IT age of
unnecessary jargon, this was refreshing and effective. In the last session, we spoke about Accessibility and Accessibility Testing, which students could relate to, because they face these challenges in their digital journey. Like all good things, the workshop came to an end and the students were very appreciative that we took the time and talked to them. I hope we were able to show them the different opportunities they have when they plan their career.
As always, I am in awe of all the work the entire staff of Mitra Jyothi puts in, especially Madhuji, Major Singh, Prathyusha (their instructor) and Veerendra (their lab instructor).
“While conceptualizing and creating videos for the sighted, I never perceived that there is a larger audience than what I was targeting.”
With my background as a Production Manager and Video Editor, I always think of conceptualizing and creating videos for a sighted audience. It never crossed my mind that visually challenged people would want to view these videos as well. I never perceived that there is a larger audience than what I was targeting. I came to know through Anu and Abhik of Prakat about Mitra Jyothi and was totally in awe. A whole different perspective opened up for me.
I started watching videos on accessibility and reading theoretically about it. But there is nothing better than having a hands-on experience.
When I was asked if I wanted to join for the workshop, I immediately said yes. Initially, I decided that I would only participate as an observer and so didn’t enquire about the content, though I knew it was about 'Software Testing and Accessibility'. As Hari started his session, some students said they didn’t understand English very well so we had to translate into Hindi. Though Hari could manage Hindi, he requested me to join in and translate. That is how I ended up teaching rather than just being an observer, as I had initially planned. And I enjoyed it very much.
I couldn’t help but notice how talented and curious the students were. They were also very sharp and focused as there is no visual distraction. As Hari mentioned, we used simple and practical examples and students were able to relate to the topic though it was new to them.
On the second day, I was supposed to go out of station but changed my plans and decided to go to the workshop instead! Since the topic was accessibility, I could see the students wanting to know more. As Hari threw more light on Accessibility and the various career opportunities including Software Testing, they were really interested as
this opened many doors for them.
In my experience, there is so much to learn from them. I am thankful to Madhuji who is such an inspiration, Major Singh, Prathyusha, Veerendra, Mitra Jyothi Staff and not to forget, Abhik Biswas and Hari Reddy, who has given me a real time experience.