Special role for video calling apps

Special role for video calling apps
Highlights

Thanks to increasingly stiff competition among telecom majors and the consequent fall in charges for internet packages, communication has gone up by several notches among deaf and dumb persons staying far apart.  

Ongole: Thanks to increasingly stiff competition among telecom majors and the consequent fall in charges for internet packages, communication has gone up by several notches among deaf and dumb persons staying far apart.

Popular video calling messenger apps like WhatsApp, Imo, Skype and others are being used to the hilt by the differently abled these days. Some of them are not only communicating among themselves with signs during video calls, but also teaching tough subjects successfully.

There are about 50 primary, secondary, higher secondary and vocational schools run by government and private bodies for deaf and dumb students across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

About 10,000 deaf and dumb students studying in these schools normally communicate with one another through sign language. If a differently abled person among the deaf and dumb wants to communicate with another person like him, he could use sign language.

In such case, he should wait until the other person sees him. If the person wants to communicate with any normal person, they utilize a pen and paper and get the work done.

Since mobile communication has become very cheap, deaf and dumb people are making increasing use of the phones to text their messages for communicating with others.

The advent of smartphones and their affordability to common people have brought about a tremendous change in the communication method of deaf and dumb persons. K Chandrasekhar, president of the Prakasam district deaf and dumb people association, says: “There are about 250 deaf and dumb students in Prakasam.

Most of them are have smartphones now and they are best utilizing the internet. In the olden days, we had to send a number of SMSs to convey a message.

But, now we are directly calling the person and talking to him through the video chat option. We thank the competition between telecom companies, which brought us unlimited internet data for 3 months at just Rs. 399.

Until recently, we paid about Rs. 259 for 1 GB of data and used it very carefully. Now, with the availability of unlimited data, we are making longer calls and even explaining subjects to others through video calling.”

The Department of Differently Abled persons has started distributing free smartphones to eligible deaf and dumb people in the districts, in batches, depending on the availability of funds.

G Prasad, an officer in the department, said, “We have received about 100 applications from various people so far and given 40 sets of smartphones to 40 people last year. We tried to distribute the smart phones to the remaining 60 people on the Independence Day, but haven’t received funds until now. They are due in a very short time and we are expecting to distribute them next month.”

The use of the smartphone with video calling apps has boosted the morale of the deaf and dumb people. They are now like any normal human being and are looking for opportunities as every youth is doing.

Chandrasekhar shares, “We have no college for the degree course. Those who are interested in continuing education should do the course on their own in regular institutions or though distance education mode. But, a number of people are continuing the education in the State.

The government, which is supposed to fill the vacancies reserved for us, is not taking any initiative. We request the government to make recruitment, distribute smartphones to all students, and give us priority in housing schemes.”

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