Tactile tricolour for visually impaired

January 2014

MUMBAI: Shortly before India celebrates Republic Day, a group of citizens launched an “accessible” version of the national flag for visually impaired. It is designed in three different textures, one for each colour, and each panel feels unique to the touch. A copper panel on the side has the words saffron, white and green embossed in Braille.

The flag was designed by NGO Sightsavers in association with the Sankara Eye Care Institution in Coimbatore. The team has tied up with the National Association for the Blind (NAB) to reach out through 23 state branches and 65 centres. Dr R V Ramani, founder and managing trustee of the eyecare institute, unveiled the flag at NAB’s Foundation Day on January 20. Around 200 sightless individuals attended it. Dr Ramani said, “We were surprised to learn that sightless people are deprived of the knowledge of India’s symbol of freedom. This accessible national flag measures about 2ft x 3ft and is mounted on a copper plate. According to the Flag Code, one cannot write anything upon the flag so we have written the names of the colours on the side.”

Its “adoption” by NAB has made Dr Ramani confident of a wider outreach.

The NAB does not hold too many expectations from the project though it director Raman Shankar says no amount of verbal description can explain colour.

“The tricolour instills patriotism in everybody, sighted or not. The only advantage of this flag design is that a visually impaired person can feel the textures and the line of demarcation,” Dr Ramani said.

The USA and UK are among the few countries that have flags designed with elements of Braille that sightless people can access.

*Source Times of India


About Sightsavers

Sightsavers is a global development organisation working in India since 1966 to eliminate avoidable blindness and to ensure that people who are irreversibly blind are supported adequately to lead lives of independence and dignity.

Today, we work with partner organisations across major states in India bringing eye healthcare, educational support, training and leadership development to visually impaired people in some of the least served areas.

We work sustainably for lasting change – by strengthening existing health systems, seeking to advocate with governments and by demonstrating best practises. We network with like-minded organisations to advocate for the rights of the disabled.

Sightsavers believes in promoting indigenous technologies in eye healthcare to ensure a wider reach.

Read more about our work

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